We are catching up on the The Wire on NetFlix so I was interested to see these remarks on the newspaper industry by its creator, David Simon …
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, the award-winning writer and producer launches a tirade against newspaper owners who, he says, showed “contempt for their product” and are now reaping the whirlwind. But he rejects the idea that newspapers should seek ways to embrace the new world of free information, arguing that they must urgently start charging money for content distributed online. …
… The only hope, Simon insists, is for major news outlets to find a way to collaboratively impose charges for reading online, and to demand fees from aggregators such as Google News, which profit from their journalism. “If you don’t have a product that you’re charging for, you don’t have a product,” he says. “If you think that free is going to produce something that’s as much of a cost centre as good journalism – because it costs money to do good journalism – you’re out of your mind.”
The number of readers willing to pay a small fee each month might never rival the heyday of newspaper circulation, but it would attract enough “people who care what’s going on in the world” to fund crucial reporting, he maintains. “And once they do that, and go to Google and Yahoo and every other search engine and say: ‘No, ain’t no free.'” He scoffs at the notion that amateur “citizen journalism”, or new online-only outlets, might take the place of newspaper reporters: “The internet does froth and commentary very well, but you don’t meet many internet reporters down at the courthouse.” [Newspapers last bastion against political corruption says David Simon, award-winning creator of The Wire | Media | guardian.co.uk]
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