The US Free Trade Commission – yes, a wing of governemnt – is thinking of stepping in to “help” out media companies, namely online newspapers which are having trouble turning a buck, namely ’cause most people don’t bother clicking on the ads. Still, reading the article, it may not be as bad as perhaps first reactions tell you it is – may. It seems a lot of it could be easing off on taxes, anti-trust leislation, and cross-media ownership. And that’s pretty good at first glance.
Of course the dinosaur of the industry, Rupert Murdoch, thinks online newspapers will die unless people are made to pay. He reckons readers should cough up the cash because, wait for it, “Good journalism is an expensive commodity.”
Why yes, Rupert, yes it is. And that’s why your papers should remain free. Apart from a few standout journalists here and there, most newspapers, and not just his, are riddled with propaganda, puff pieces, lazy investigative work, and stuff many non-journalists can do quite easily. Take bloggers for example.
Is Rupert jealous? Frustrated? That in many instances, the blogosphere has shown up the MSM? Either way, if all news outlets made us pay, it would spell the end of – or at best a very damaging blow to - blogging. He realises bloggers feed off the media – for free – quite often, but doesn’t he also realise the media feeds of the blogosphere – for free -, too?
Ariana Huffington isn’t impressed.
“It’s time for traditional media companies to stop whining.”
PS Rupert, why don’t you charge more for the ads? Just like on TV, nobody really wants to look at them. So why do TV ads cost so much, yet online ads at major newspapers don’t comparitively? And besides, you’re not really short of a buck.
From my Death of Blogging post:
“The publisher of The Wall Street Journal, The Australian and Dow Jones Newswires posted a loss of $US203 million ($241m), or US8 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with earnings of $US1.1 billion, or US43c a share, a year ago.
So financial crisis aside, which screwed everyone, and when News Ltd was still providing a ‘free’ online news service, Rupert made 1.1 BILLION dollars… and yet he still wants to charge us! And when many of us work for free for his blogs!
I smell a rat, a rat so big Left-wing bloggers should be concerned, too.
If Murdoch wants to bury his own ‘newspapers’, fine. Actually… no, because it will bury a Golden Era where the public was no longer restricted to but a few news sources but could freely roam the globe thanks to the WWW and see this perspective up against that perspective in ways past generations could only have dreamed of.
And now Murdoch (if his business model is successful and other outlets follow suit [even though other outlets have FAILED already trying so]) wants to ruin that, which will ruin the blogosphere, and most likely, seriously hurt his business.
Mr Murdoch’s comments came as News Corp reported US$680 million in writedowns and other one-off charges largely related to the company’s social networking site, MySpace.
So get rid of MySpace. Facebook kicks its arse anyway.”