By paulgillin | May 7, 2007 - 4:49 am - Posted in Circulation, Journalism, Newspapers

The publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette argues passionately in the WSJ that newspapers are sealing their own doom by giving news away for free. He notes that the American newspaper industry collectively spends $7 billion a year on editorial operations.

He has some good points and great statistics, but the horse has already left the barn. Once you start giving something away, it’s very hard to reverse course and charge for it again. With a few notable exceptions, the paid content model is pretty much dead in the area of general news. Special-interest publications, of course, will still be able to charge fees.

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