Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Digital Rupert Clings To Old 20th Century Habits & Hubris

By Darryl Mason

A few more quotes from Rupert Murdoch on why he's so confident enough people will pay to read his kind of news so as to stop his whole empire from plummeting like the Twin Towers.
"Quality journalism is not cheap."
Yes, we all agree on that. Very true. No-one can argue with that.

Or maybe Rupert just found out that his News Of The World has paid out a couple of million to people its journalists spied on, getting busted in the process. That's expensive 'journalism'. But is it 'quality journalism?

Or dodgy as all fuck?

So what other kind of quality journalism does Digital Rupert think will pull in the bucks from the online news reading public?

"When we have a celebrity scoop, the number of hits we get now are astronomical."

Okay, so he's banking on the collapsed celebrity media market to save his empire. It won't happen. There is no lock on information and news anymore. Put it behind a pay wall and it will just take a few more minutes longer to find its way into the public domain.

Any even minor-interest celebrity news is all across Twitter and Facebook and a thousand other blogs, social networking sites and indie media, often faster than anyone in the Murdoch media can get in front of a keyboard. Any spectacular or juicy details of 'How Bastard Brad Broke Weepy Jen's Heart, Again!' will be everywhere, regardless of pay walls and copyright.

And Digital Rupert aims to protect those 'Rampaging Sex Addicted Football Star Cuts Off Own Penis'-type stories from being duplicated and circulated.

"We'll be asserting our copyright at every point."

He's dreaming. Copyright is dead.

What if someone who witnesses a terrible disaster or terrorist attack demands to be cut in for some of the revenue generated by what Digital Rupert believes will the kinds of big stories that people will pay to read online? What if everyone interviewed by a Murdoch journalist decided to "retain their copyright" until they saw some cash. What then?

The whole You Will Pay! digital media devolution has begun, and for news junkies and media flunkies alike, it will be fascinating to see how it unfolds.

But it's not going to put a lot of bloggers and independent news sites out of business. If anything, the blocking of access to Murdoch news sites will increase traffic to those who Free Publish.

There's no law against someone reporting what a journalist has reported behind a corporate media pay wall.

Not yet anyway.