Last week Rupert Murdoch signaled the end of free news online, or so he hopes. He plans to start charging for his content within the next 12 months, and when he does, he suspects others will too. Murdoch's newspaper holdings span the globe, from the Australian to the Wall Street Journal and to his News International stable in London. The plans for a micropayment system are in the works, where users would be charged a very little fee for accessing one article. And he may get some people interested in specific content to do just that. He stated to the BBC "I believe that if we are successful, we will be followed by other media."
But will he succeed? This doesn't stop people from copying restricted content and pasting it to blogs, other sites, and the like. The internet is so vast it would be hard to prosecute everyone. In some places around the globe it would be very difficult to expand jurisdiction. I think a pay wall is not only unacceptable for our freedoms, and access to information for all, but it's economically a bad move too. It's hard to go against a man such as Rupert Murdoch, but there are many innovative ways to make money in the online newspaper industry.
Most money making potential that people realize are through search engines and online advertising. But what about citizen journalism? Getting ordinary citizens to go out and take pictures, make a video, or get the live fresh news themselves, and then paying them a commission, is such a great idea. Not only will it get many people involved personally in the news, but it will make the viewers pay more attention because their own neighbors are reporting for the news.
A hybrid new media is the way to go. The industry can keep it's practices of fairness, accuracy, and powerful investigative journalism while adding the quickness, interactivity, and transparency of the new age media. You can't expect people to get all the information they want for free, and then all of a sudden pay to get it. A reader in the United Kingdom might not have as big of an incentive to pay for one of Murdoch's articles when they have the BBC. There are so many great and reliable sources elsewhere on the world wide web that they will just move on.