“That the relationship between advertisers, publishers, and journalists has been ratified by a century of cultural practice doesn’t make it any less accidental.”via Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable « Clay Shirky. the pragmatists were the ones simply looking out the window and noticing that the real world was increasingly resembling the unthinkable scenario. These people were treated as if they were barking mad. Meanwhile the people spinning visions of popular walled gardens and enthusiastic micropayment adoption, visions unsupported by reality, were regarded not as charlatans but saviors. via Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable « Clay Shirky.
Micheal Kinsley’s OP-Ed from the NYTimes provides a short and very likely explanation of why micropayments aren’t going to save the current structure of news organizations. With the cost of publishing approaching zero, and the cost of publishing becoming too cheap to monitor, competition enters where monopoly held sway just a decade or so ago. Kinsley suspects that competition will keep open the Baghdad bureau, among others, and the new playing field for publishers will favor the best content, not the biggest publishing empire. Just a few years ago, there was no sweeter perch in American capitalism than ownership of the only newspaper in town. Now, every English-language newspaper is in direct competition with every other.
So the short version of what Issacson is proposing is that media companies charge for access to content like Apple charges for downloads of music from the iTunes story. Why not require users, says Issacson to pay, oh, 10 cents or less for each item a reader wants. via Will micropayments save newspapers–Or, should they be saved? – Susan Mernit’s Blog. Susan Mernit explains why the effort to close the “barn door” or free content isn’t going to work with some good examples.