16 April 2009

‘Charging For Web Content Can Save Newspapers’

Newspapers can save themselves by all charging for their web-based content, according to an industry analyst.

Former journalist John Morton makes his tongue-in-cheek proposal in an American Journalism Review article entitled “The Morton Plan: Here’s how America’s newspapers can save themselves”.

So what is the Morton Plan? Well, the main idea is that newspapers take the decision individually to introduce charges for their online content and thus avoid the need for antitrust exemption from the government.

“Offer your readers the choice of getting their paper online, with the advantages of expanded information and search capabilities, or in print for the same price. A modest premium would give them both,” writes Morton.

He adds: “Decide, individually, that you will make these changes on July 4, 2009, a fitting day for a nation founded on the belief that a free press is necessary for government to function properly.

“If the Feds come complaining about a conspiracy, tell them: ‘I didn’t conspire with anybody. Morton made me do it.”

The full article is available on ajr.org.

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