Free news was always a stupid idea. I had, way back in about the early 2000s or so, pitched an article for CJR about why journalism was failing online with one of the reasons being: Cheap and easy is going to get you a reputation in your neighbourhood, meaning that you are not going to gain audiences that way.
I was turned down, of course, because it was true, but there is an article about how more news services are charging for content.
But as it is done in an advertorial style, nothing in the article can be taken at face value. Everyone by now knows about archive.is, and how it bypasses paywalls. Are people buying for their content now? Not enough to matter. The bump is negligible.
How do I know?
All you have to look is at the bottom line: plunging profits, media consolidation, massive job losses, and the constant search for wealthy people to shake down with a “non-profit” model. If there was some sort of bump, there wouldn’t be the blood-letting we see — especially as the rest of the US economy is making strong and sustained gains.
PR says one thing. The pink slips scream another. It is a feint, and a very poor one at that.
Journalists are trying to bluff their way into getting more paid subscriptions. What this will mean is that more publications will fold, and there will be fewer outlets. That’s all. The profession’s obsessive compulsion to put a sunny spin on rot does not allow for critical think pieces as they reflect on their broken fortunes.
They keep hoping for a miracle, but miracles are not coming. They should have taken a hard look at how archaic their old business models were in a changing world. They didn’t, and they are paying the price.
Even if they are trying to deny it.