Should news be free on the internet?

murdochFirst thing in the morning (writes Denise on Europe Today) I get in and check various websites like the New York Times and the Times of London to see what’s going on in the world. Soon I may mot be able to, as the owner of the Times says he plans to charge me to access the news pages of his website from next year. And Murdoch isn’t alone in considering a charge.

Rupert Murdoch says journalism is not cheap and shouldn’t be free. But while this is a fair point, critics argue many people will just stop going to their websites and stick with the free ones.

What about you? Would you pay to read news on the internet?

24 Responses to “Should news be free on the internet?”

  1. 1 Loren
    August 6, 2009 at 15:00

    I’d be much happier to pay for news if I knew that service was not also supported by ad revenue. I happily contribute to public radio for this very reason. While we have been conditioned to expect things for free on the internet, we have also been inured to advertisements even for services that we pay for (like internet access for example) Should potential on-line news readers pay for their connection, then pay for access to a site, and still be advertised to? Murdoch and others should chose one business model and stick with it.

  2. 2 John in Salem
    August 6, 2009 at 15:11

    I get all my news from National Public Radio, Public Radio International and Public Broadcasting Service. Who needs Murdoch?

    August 6, 2009 at 15:27

    He assumes that one is on the internet as if on a free welfare-cafeteria. This is not the case because he gets revenue through advertisements that target the millions of viewers who visit his magazine (site)s. Therefore if he shuts us out, it will be only one source which is never enough on its own for the purpose of gathering and consumption of news. We will thank him for his generosity while it lasted. He can shut it since he owns the property rights. On the other hand, Die hard fans of the concerned papers will continue subscribing.

    I have no worry about it because BBC is enough and if not many, other channels and blogs internationally will give me what I need. If any event is newsworthy, I know that I will get it.

    This blog for example has made me more aware of myself and more knowledgeable about the world than merely consuming reported news. It is my daily magazine. I owe a lot of thanks to all the contributors and WHYS organizers wherever they are; it does not matter to me whatever they write.

    • 4 patti in cape coral
      August 6, 2009 at 17:16

      I have to agree, Arthur, and I also owe a lot to the blog for becoming more educated about the world and venturing out of my “comfort zone.” A lot of opinions that seemed silly to me at first were ones that I had to take seriously after bloggers backed them up. Makes me careful to try and understand why I feel the way I do, and actually listen to what people have to say, and try very hard (very hard) to hear the message without being offended by the language or tone. That is a kind of growth that you don’t get with regular news. I have even gotten adventurous and participated in other blogs as a result of this.

  4. 5 Ramesh, India
    August 6, 2009 at 15:48

    Rupert Murdoch seems to be unaware of the internet trends. New York Times used to be a pay service until recently. But after seeing the potential of advertising revenue, they made it free. Many years ago, there was a talk of web mail service turning into pay service. But the market forces not only made them to abandon the idea of paid email service but also increase the mail box size to unimaginable levels. Murdoch era is over. He is not good at internet media. My Space losing space to Facebook is a fine example.

  5. 6 Anthony
    August 6, 2009 at 15:56

    Lol, yeah, since there isn’t anywhere else on the web to get news. I would NEVER pay to get on the N.Y. Times site. They are trying to regain their monopoly, but guess what you old way of thinking companies, the world has passed you by and things will never be the same.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

      August 6, 2009 at 18:28

      @ Anthony,

      He makes me afraid of getting old if it gets to hurting with finical blues when I am so rich. Who will help me and what will I do if my clients refuse to pay and bolt decide to bolt off to Hawaii or Tasmania to have a nice weekend?

      Luckily, there is always some water in the well whenever your told that ‘the well is dry’. Its pays to be suspicious.

  6. August 6, 2009 at 15:59

    Thanks for this, it’s good to hear what you have to say. Those of you who have emailed seem happy to pay for news to keep it independent from advertising – but do other people out there disagree? I’m glad Arthur, that you feel blogs like this are such a part of your daily life.

      August 6, 2009 at 18:18

      @ Denise,

      I appreciate every time I get to hear your perception and many others; all of you who I feel decorate not only my mind but ARTHUR’S WORLD. It was wise of BBC to think about interaction which is such a powerful tool for educating one another. In this way, the world is not such a boring place.

      Consider this, for many years, I failed to attend political gatherings held by politicians in an old fashioned model whereby you are always on the receiving end as if audiences can be flattened into a wall paper. I saw them looking all blessed even when what was said was gas.
      Look, here on WHYS you can say it as you see it and from experience its not that bad even when others do not agree with you. You even learn not to be bashful when you are criticized or told off. We have a saying among folks which says that “Any king who can not be told (advised) is not a king”. Well it was a male kingdom as you can rightly guess but don’t worry about it. These days it would apply to queens as well. They must learn to learn from audience feedback. You and I are our own two-cent-Murdochs too and due to the ever increasing and renewable potential of human ingenuity, we may not be the last. I take this opportunity to invite him to this blog. he will have plenty to learn for the benefit of his empire. My only worry is that he might persuade BBC to sell the blog to him. Where could we go with getting charged for mileage by the meter?

  7. 10 Billy
    August 6, 2009 at 16:19

    Since the largest media corporations in America are basically the ministries of propaganda for the White House I think creating a greater incentive for people to view independent news outlets is a good thing. By charging people to view his biased news websites Murdoch is only shooting himself in the foot.

  8. August 6, 2009 at 16:23

    We must all, including owner of the Time recognise the fact that
    its publication on the net made it popular among the world people
    public support provided it unique value nad worth-seeing.

    who can refuse that it earn considerable money from publics advertisement on daily basis.and on the other hand its vast circulation.

    In case,
    the owners imposed charges on news on net media it would not be good step to the right direction.

    The option,
    which is underconsideration may create some unavoidable circumstances for the owners and time administration,should remove such thinking the same is favourable.

  9. 12 Tom K in Mpls
    August 6, 2009 at 16:39

    Everything costs money, so it needs to come from somewhere. But then again, many can’t really afford much if anything. It could be seen as further suppression of the poor. Advertising makes the cost painless, but clearly has a strong influence not only what gets presented, but how. Because of this the BBC and NPR are my main news sources. I see the rest as unreliable.

  10. 13 Dennis Junior
    August 6, 2009 at 16:45

    …What about you? Would you pay to read news on the internet? …

    To answer to the questions…I also, used the internet for my news of the
    day and…no, I would not pay for news!!!!

    I would then look for Free News Websites…..

    ~Dennis Junior~

  11. 14 Peter_scliu
    August 6, 2009 at 17:04

    I will find one that don’t charge. If there is’nt one , i will find the best value for money.

  12. 15 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 6, 2009 at 20:09

    No I won’t pay, I’ll stay ignorant like the vast majority who don’t read the news anyway. I think its a dangerous precedent to set especially if it’s a coordinated effort from all the large news agencies. A move like that will make news only accessible to a priviledged few who have the money and political will.

    The freedom of information has indeed unlocked a limitless world fo me and many others and any attempt to regulate that in the form of charges will be a travesty.

    I’ll be bold enough to say that this plan seems to be engineered by the political right as a means of regulating who and how many people get vital news that can alter their lives and give them alternative options because of what they know.

  13. 16 Tan Boon Tee
    August 7, 2009 at 04:21

    Why should news on internet not be free when the ads are already paying the bills?

    I am always looking for more sources of completely ad free media of factual news — newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, or websites. Any cue from anyone?

  14. 17 Leo in London
    August 7, 2009 at 11:53

    Just like the music industry and direction that it is heading (probably that music will become ‘free’ online), the online press need to adapt and will have to make their money other ways as well. The music industry has traditionally been dominated by the major labels who literally controlled the marketplace, much like News Corp etc. Now the global freedom that the internet gives musicians now puts the power back into their hands and more independent artists can source an income through a variety of ways–the same way that blogs also can now distribute journalistic power to anyone anywhere.

    It is those who can adapt who will be able to survive. Just look at Murdoch’s MySpace, which has seen barely any technological innovation (compared to something like Facebook or Twitter) since it’s aquisition, now the whole executive board has left, and it’s popularity is suffering in a massive way.

  15. 18 Hamish MacColl
    August 7, 2009 at 12:28

    It seems to me that either you agree with Mr. Murdoch’s extreme right views or you don’t. If you agree with his views then you’ll have no objection to paying for his news. If you don’t agree with his views then why are you reading his publications? I prefer the Independent myself.

  16. August 7, 2009 at 14:04

    Origin of internet 1968 seem with birth of someone in Hitlers camp in 40’s,followed by Nuke bombsin mid 40s UK 1968 big computers then 69 US internet _Stanford email ’72 as Godly phenomenon then as a Gift of God or punishment? One thing is sure No more library Papers and superiority of the West needed.Asking for money even for this internet seem one way journey trend as the thing (which came with it ) does exist.This eventually seem becoming reality and downfall of those…”

  17. 20 Linda from Italy
    August 7, 2009 at 16:30

    I’m still pinching myself to check I haven’t died and gone to Hell at the thought that I even partially agree with RM, he who has done so much over the years to drag the UK press into the gutter.
    I don’t read his papers, but I do use two other UK dailies plus one of the few Italian ones that is independent of Berlusconi and in the old days I would always buy newspapers.
    There is an argument for some free, mainly news content, particularly from informed sources, but I would gladly pay for the whole works if it is to keep quality journalism afloat. I can remember some 5 (?) years ago you had to subscribe to the UK Independent for access to opinion pieces and other non-news features. I also had a subscription to the Financial Times, when a job I was doing needed me to be in close touch with financial journalism. Seems only fair to me.

  18. 21 Linda from Italy
    August 7, 2009 at 16:32

    P.S. When I lived in the UK my TV licence to support the BBC was about the only bill I was happy to pay. Here in Italy we have to pay a licence for horrendous quality TV that’s full of adverts too!

  19. August 8, 2009 at 07:08

    Hey, people don’t earn in dollars or pounds all over the world. Even a dollar is a bit of an amount in poor countries. But, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to the news. Internet already costs. And what if news on it too did the same? I wouldn’t bother paying to read the news out of the BBC’s website if it asks me to pay. I’d rather tune in to the the radio or tv instead !

  20. 23 Jim Newman
    August 9, 2009 at 01:20

    Hello again
    As ‘news’ is, in most cases, another word for propaganda and manipulation I’m not sure that it makes any difference where it comes from. As for paying for it. Those who want to pay should be free to pay.

  21. 24 scmehta
    August 10, 2009 at 13:54

    Frankly speaking, it will not make much of a difference to the internet news-readers; may be most of them will refuse to pay to read; besides, there are already so much available in so many other ways. but, it will definitely make a world of difference to popularity and Ad-value of any internet news-channel.

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