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MSM, Murdoch and the “freedom” of the internet

  • November 12th, 2009

My firm has subscribed to NBR’ twice daily internet bulletins. We are very satisfied, though irked by one feature – not being able to email effective links to the stories that are reserved for  "subscribers only".

Is that irritation fair? Is it only because we have got used to things being free when they should not be? The world’s newspapers are dying. I was shocked by last month’s figures for US newspaper circulation and readership. Over 10% down across the board in one year. The Wall Street Journal is holding its own, and is now the largest circulation US paper at just over a tiny 2 million.

The internet is killing newspapers. We can get material free (though it remains expensive to produce) that was once available only to people who bought a newspaper or could borrow one or copy the story  – all just dificult enough to make it worth buying your own copy.

The Wall Street Journal has always restricted access. Now, it appears, Rupert Murdoch is planning to extend his counter-attack, with Google in his sights. He told a Sky News Australia interviewer that his pay to access material will be made  "invisible" to Google.

The interview was drawn to my attention in commentary in a Swiss based internet daily.

I wonder if New Zealand might be an early venue for an attempt by the Murdoch lawyers to redefine the relevant law?

And could Barry Colman work out a way for us to pay a little extra to be able to send working links to articles, perhaps with a built in number ration per week?


  • Kiwiwit
  • November 12th, 2009
  • 12:13 pm

Newspapers are dying not because of the advent of the internet (after all, there are plenty of bricks and mortar businesses who have successfully made the transition – even publishing businesses such as Lexus/Nexus and OED) but because of their shoddy production standards and poor journalism. Newspapers used to set the standards for what was defined as news. That is certainly no longer the case and we’ve seen plenty of recent examples (e.g. Uighur uprising in China, election protests in Iran) where on-line social networks set the standard and newspapers belated reported what happened. I find NZ newspapers are particularly bad and personally I have cancelled my subscriptions to all of them.

  • Mark Wright
  • November 12th, 2009
  • 12:45 pm

See this for an interesting take on Murdoch’s move.

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