The Newspaper Suicide Pact

Your newspaper overlords believe they can sell you their content if
they can just get  everybody on the same page and nail the sales pitch
this time. They’re looking for the magic words, not the underlying
logic (the tricky part? Doing all this without breaking federal anti-trust law).

This is folly, of course. Even MIT Technology Review Editor and Publisher Justin Jason Pontin concluded that news and opinion must be given away to the aggregators, and that was in an essay advancing the case for paid content.

Pontin
comes from the magazine field, which suffers from similar woes but is a
fundamentally different beast than the general bundling machine we call
the American metro newspaper. All sorts of content can be sold online
quite profitably (you can read my thoughts on this here and here),
but trying to force people to pay for generic news content because your
advertising rates have dropped so low they no longer cover the cost of
your operations? Have fun selling that one, boys.

And sell it they are.

[…]

Quality journalism is expensive, and to the extent that it provides a public good, we will find ways to fund it. But top-heavy, poorly run, arrogant-to-the-bitter-end media companies? This is their crisis, not our crisis, and it certainly isn’t about journalism. —Dan Conover,. Xark