By John Maroon
A few weeks back one of Britain’s most popular and successful newspapers, The Times, began charging its readers for online content. Yahoo.com reported the story on July 2.
The paper, as well as its sister publication, The Sunday Times, is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s New Corporation. The Wall Street Journal (also owned by Murdoch) and The Financial Times also charge for online content.
I believe this is a necessary and positive step by The Times. The old adage is “you get what you pay for.” It is the truth. Not long ago, and to a lesser extent today, we rely on the news media to be creditable, accurate and serve as a watchdog over our nation. The media is also known as The Fourth Estate for that reason.
As consumers we never expected newspapers to be free when they were still a popular means, so why do we expect information on the internet to be free? It’s simply because we have been conditioned to believe that.
The end result is that our best and brightest are no longer choosing journalism as an occupation. The news gathering agencies cannot pay as well and the quality of coverage continues to slip.
Will this be a challenge and interesting to watch? Absolutely! Is there an option…no. For any business to survive it needs to generate revenue and in order for them to grow they need to hire and retain talent.
For the greater good of our society I hope that all of the major papers in the United States follow the lead of The Times and that we, as a country, understand that there is a price for quality and paying for news means better, more accurate media with higher integrity… which will be great for all of us.
John Maroon is the President of Maroon PR. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.