David Campbell of Durham University has been writing a brilliant series of blog posts entitled “Revolutions in the Media Economy“,which is enlightening and refreshing. It’s a sober approach towards the concerns presently facing photography In the 5th installment (linked above) he walks through a lucid analysis of “pay walls”, an option many news outlets are exploring to offset their recent losses in revenue due to the availability of information on the internet. The section I find particularly interesting is “How they limit the public good.” where he elaborates on Clay Shirky’s talk at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
I highly suggest reading Campbell’s blog, and from that suggest watching Shirky’s talk, because they really do bring the uncertainty of print media into focus, as contradictory as that may sound.
In an article printed in today’s New York Times* called “Adding Fees and Fences on Media Sites”, which should be read in tandem with Campbell’s series, they feature this quote among many others:
“‘Content providers see that the idea that everything has to be free, supported by ads, isn’t working well, and they’re trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube, but only partially,’ said Alan D. Mutter, a media consultant and blogger who has been an executive at digital media companies.”
And then conclude the piece with the following:
“One of the problems is newspapers fired so many journalists and turned them loose to start so many blogs,” Mr. Mutter said. “They should have executed them. They wouldn’t have had competition. But they foolishly let them out alive.”
Though this crisis in real, Campbell, Mutter and Shirky make it clear that media giants like Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation may be trying to collect water with a sieve, yet assure us that there is still a silver lining.
*Published yesterday on their website.