NOW THAT WE are all used to free information readily available online, there is a great debate happening about establishing paywalls on news websites. The rational is that news is expensive to produce and the audience should pay for the information.
The problem that began online is also seen in print, where free newspapers have become popular around the world. The Metro, which has a Philadelphia edition, boasts the 5th largest newspaper circulation and is the most read free daily newspaper in the country.
“Free newspapers are, in many cases, devaluing the currency," Phillip Crawley, publisher and CEO of Toronto's Globe and Mail, said last week. "It’s the equivalent of elevator music.”
The criticism of free newspapers is that they generally lack depth in their stories, they rely upon salacious content and they are too broad in their coverage (so as to appeal to the largest common denominator). Oh, and they're stealing readers from newspapers that still charge for print editions.
Are free newspapers the ultimate form of democracy or the murderers of serious journalism?
10 months ago