You may have heard that media magnate Rupert Murdoch is making moves to charge for his publications’ online content. This might be a risky move since others have failed in similar efforts in the past. However:
a) If Murdoch, being a savvy businessman, has judged that he can make it work, then there’s a good chance he’s right.
b) If anybody could make it work, it would probably be Murdoch.
What I love about this is that it’s Murdoch – who is generally reviled by the left, in large part because he is the owning force behind Fox News – who is taking a step and leading the way towards the business model that is seen by many in the professional journalism community as being what could save their industry. These people believe that giving away content for free is unsustainable and will ultimately lead to the demise of the journalism. You can see their point.
Not only that, but working journalists at liberal news outlets have also held Murdoch in contempt because they think he’s a businessman who is willing to squeeze the life out of news sources just to turn a profit. (There was definitely a lot of hand-wringing at the Wall Street Journal – and in the larger industry – about whether Murdoch would maintain the paper’s high standards and reputation.) And now – presumably in pursuit of profit – it is this businessman who stands poised to do what they have always advocated. (Let’s see if they thank them for it).
Read The Man Who Owns the News if you want to learn more about Rupert Murdoch. Michael Wolff is kind of a tool itowards his main subject (and this attitude I detected was confirmed to me by Wolff’s later appearance on either the Colbert Report or the Daily Show – can’t remember which), but on the whole if you like Murdoch, you’ll probably still like him after you read this, while knowing more about him and his company NewsCorp.
I’ve been thinking about this stuff for a few days and then was reminded about the topic after reading today’s morning email from the Kansas Progress. So hat tip to Ben Hodge, and the Time piece he featured, which I still need to read in full.