In his recent post about Journalism Online’s intent in proposing a system for news sites to charge for their online content, Steve Outing notes the absurdity of asking readers to pay for content offered by outlets whose quality has diminished after laying off thousands of journalists:
The minute paywalls go up on content on the web, all but the most devoted will click elsewhere to find alternatives. Consumer behavior will make an abrupt change online. Brill and his supporters think that newspaper content is so special that bloggers and new news players online won’t match the quality, yet newspaper quality has been sinking badly as thousands of journalists have been pushed onto the street.
Setting aside the issue of quality, news sites that intend to charge for content have their heads in the sand if they think people will pay because “Who else will provide the coverage?”
Plenty will. And plenty are, as Mark Potts pointed out during a panel in Baltimore, titled “The End of Local News? If Communities Lose Newspapers, Who Will Fill the Void?”: