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Meanland extract – The great paywall of Murdoch

Murdoch wants to put our news behind a paywall, beginning with The Times and The Sunday Times, via a new payment model supposed to kick in in the very near future. Doubtless this is something he’s been planning since his first forays into the internet – like the purchase of MySpace – proved financially fruitless.

Bloomberg’s Matthew Lynn claims the project is doomed to failure:

It’s too late to start charging for newspapers online. The content isn’t good enough, and newspapers themselves are a product of technologies that simply don’t work in a digital economy. All Murdoch is going to achieve with this move is to kill off one of the most famous media brands in the world.

Murdoch and his papers

For some unfathomable reason, media barons are approaching news in the electronic frontier dressed in the same expectations they had of the print medium, even though the information works in a completely different way.

Originally, the newspaper was a regular publication of current and topical issues and coverage designed, for the most part, for the general public. They first began to appear in the 17th century, as printed matter, coinciding with the invention of the printing press, although there had been previous circulation of handwritten newsheets and bulletins. In the 1800s, newspapers became cheap enough to mass-produce and consequently available to a much wider and more generalised readership.

Read the rest of the essay over at Meanland.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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Jacinda Woodhead is the editor of Overland. Her PhD research examined abortion politics in Australia and nonfiction as political intervention.

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