[LINK] On Clicks, Paywalls and the Survival of Jouralism

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Tue Nov 1 15:13:18 AEDT 2011

Karen Dearne dropped me a note which sums up very well 'the quandary 
of the news junkie'.  The Oz has been feral in its political pages in 
recent times, but some parts of the paper continue to publish 
well-researched and well-written articles.  There has to be a reason 
why publishers continue to pay people to do such things.  (She gave 
me the okay to post her email).

Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2011 12:48:19 +1100
From: "Dearne, Karen" <dearnek at theaustralian.com.au>

Hi Roger

While I know it's real easy to get around the paywall, it would be 
unfortunate if privacy advocates failed to click on privacy stories, 
as behind the paywall metrics are everything.

So if you want people like me to spend hours trawling through annual 
reports and trying to wrest answers from politicians, then you'll 
have to stump up yr $3 a week from next year.

[And if that's how the market goes, then the same for Fairfax and the 
same for such other outlets as publish relevant stories.]

Because if stories don't get clicks, in future they won't be produced 
or run. What you'll get is lots of quick rewrites of press releases 
and mentions of Apple from kids on $40K.

I think this is the real threat for the future - lack of time to 
investigate stuff, and pressure to keep producing web content means 
our politicians and businesses will not be subject to scrutiny. In 
fact, the digital press corps will be happily if blindly 
regurgitating every word in the press release as fact.

I should also add that the digital approach allows us to publish much
more material - no longer confined to space available on the dead trees.

At the moment, many many stories get written that don't make it into the
paper. On the IT section, we've always run that stuff online, but it
will make a huge difference to many writers, eg health, which always get
pushed for space, to be able to put their stuff up.

Also want to draw your attention to this new but well hidden resource 
on the website:


Our FOI editor Sean Parnell has been doing a lot of great stuff, and 
one advantage of the new format is that we're able to put up pdfs of 
documents released to us under FOI.

So over time there'll be excellent resources there.

But like I say, if content is seen not to be valued, then it won't be produced.

At the moment, I'm enjoying the fact that all those ministers offices 
and departments are having to register to read what I write  (:-)


Karen Dearne
IT writer
The Australian
t  +61 2 9288 2659
<mailto:dearnek at theaustralian.com.au>dearnek at theaustralian.com.au     web 

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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