Monday, April 5, 2010

British newspaper websites offer a laboratory

As paywalls rise and fall, Britain is becoming the new media laboratory.

The Times of London (a storied newspaper now owned by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp) plans to erect a fairly expensive paywall in June. Online readers will be asked to pay about $2 a week. Meanwhile a Scots paper, the Southern Reporter, is abandoning its pay wall.

Given that newspaper readership is healthy in Britain and that the BBC website and the Guardian, which intends to continue free access, offers solid journalistic alternatives, it will be interesting to watch. And journalism itself has a stake in the outcome.

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