2010 A Turning Point for the Paywall

At the beginning of any year, you can expect to be inundated with trend reports, outlooks and predictions.  In 2010, nowhere is this more prevalent than in journalism where it’s everyone’s guess as to what form the news industry as we now know it will take, how journalists will ever make a living, and indeed, how anybody in the industry will make any money at all.  Ask five people, and you’ll get at least six opinions. Just about everybody agrees, however, that 2010 will mark the turning point that will determine the future of journalism.  A very pithy article in the Irish Times envisions a world where journalists become entrepreneurs and the state funds them.  The nightmare, the article admits, is that losing big media also means losing scrutiny of the state, which could seek to control content.  Almost in retort, comes a tribute from across the pond to “capitalist media barons” in which the Independent claims that “… a powerful alliance of commerce, conscience and intellect is converging around the certainty that such journalism is essential if representative democracy is to endure.”

A bit closer to home, FishbowlNY interviewed Jim Gaines, formerly of several Time publications and currently editor-in-chief of FLYP. MR. Gaines believes that citizen journalism, viewed by many as the bane of journalism, can actually help a story that has been begun by a journalist.

 “A story is going to be the beginning of a conversation and that story will be modified by the conversation that follows. I don’t know exactly what that model is going to look like because the experimentation is only beginning. But it’s very exciting.”

He also believes that the collaboration between a story and its audience is “exactly where advertisers want to be”.  He sees that engagement as the solution to the advertiser/subscriber pay model dilemma.

All of this is, of course, idle and not so idle speculation.  There will be a lot more thrashing and moaning before the settling down begins.


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