I think that if I hear another newspaper person utter this phrase — no more free content — I will scream. It’s either that or shoot the guy. (It’s almost always a guy.)
The latest missive to feature this demand comes from David Carr, writing in the Sunday New York Times (tip). Howard Kurtz alluded to it when writing about the demise of The Rocky Mountain News, asserting that “newspapers feel compelled to give away their content.” It was also a theme at the “No News Is Bad News” event in Seattle in February.
Why is this demand driving me crazy?
The implication in the “no more free content” meme — that all would be right in the newspapering world if online readers would just ante up — rests on a false assumption. News and information consumers, in the main, do not “pay” for news content! In my lifetime, all mass media have “given away” their content. There are exceptions (Consumer Reports comes to mind) but the “no more free content” folks are not talking about niche magazines: they’re talking about local daily newspapers.