In the past I was an avid newspaper buyer. My day could not start without the morning paper. I scoffed at online material. Nothing could possibly beat the tactile satisfaction of turning the pagers. Nope. The ability to scan newspapers from around the world was too delicious to resist. I seldom buy a paper now.
The Christchurch Press is hardly going to be broken by my daily lack of patronage but collectively it – and all other newspapers – are. Decreasing readership means fewer advertising dollars.
The cost of course is the quality of journalism. If the media are to attract and keep the best talent, they must be able to pay for it.
The reason I say that both websites need to go behind a paywall is that there is a fear that if one goes alone then people will just switch to the other. I’m guilty of this. When the New York Times went behind a pay wall I stopped visiting.
A paywall will not be a panacea for the problems facing the print media. Newspapers need to find inspiration from the late and legendary, Ben Bradlee, the Washington Post editor and create a culture that gives them impact and makes them important. But increasing revenues is a piece of that puzzle.
I for one am prepared to pay. In fact I demand it. The cost of not doing so is too high.