Writer Splits From Murdoch's Times Of London To Avoid Being Hidden Behind The Paywall

from the get-out-while-the-getting's-good dept

With Rupert Murdoch's The Times of London going behind a paywall, we're already seeing some of their writers bailing out. A bunch of folks sent over the news that the writer of the Times' legal blog, Tim Kevan, has set up shop on his own blog, outside of the paywall. He admits he has nothing against The Times for putting up a paywall, it's just not something he wants to be a part of:
I have today withdrawn the BabyBarista Blog from The Times in reaction to their plans to hide it away behind a paywall along with their other content. Now don't get me wrong. I have absolutely no problem with the decision to start charging. They can do what they like. But I didn't start this blog for it to be the exclusive preserve of a limited few subscribers. I wrote it to entertain whosoever wishes to read it.
We've seen this before. Back when the NY Times had its old paywall around its op-ed columnists, there were plenty of stories of those columnists complaining about the lockdown. And, of course, when Newsday, in New York, put up its paywall (which infamously brought in just a few dozen subscribers), one of its top columnists quit, after publishing an open letter about why paywalls are a bad idea.

This does bring up yet another example of where paywalls can hurt. Even if they do get subscribers (a big if), it might not do much for a writer's own reputation if his or her work can't be read more widely. In an era where an individual's reputation is pretty important in the journalism world, many good reporters and columnists might not want to get stuck in virtual obscurity behind a paywall.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Benny Carter, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:40am

    It is not "The Times of London". It's not "The London Times". It is just "The Times". In the UK we have national newspapers. If you must identify it by geographic location, then the a more accurate description would be "British newspaper, The Times.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:42am

    In the UK we have national newspapers.

    NOT FOR LONG LOL AMIRITE?

     

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  3.  
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    lindy, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:54am

    writers absconding

    It will indeed be interesting theatre to see how the pay to read will play out. I agree that I too would not want to be hidden behind the curtain. Writers write for all, it is that freedom thing - however there may be a case for in depth articles written at the behest of the editor to be paid for? mmmm - not sure it will work!

     

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  4.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 2:30am

    Re:

    It is not "The Times of London". It's not "The London Times". It is just "The Times"

    I know, but every time I write that, people think we're talking about the NY Times. It's quite common to refer to it as "the Times of London" to keep it clear.

     

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  5.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 3:28am

    Conflict of interests

    It's an inherent conflict of interests.

    The journalist wants their writing made public, so it can be read freely and widely, and to be paid to write by those interested in them writing more (traditionally the newspaper/publisher, now their more interested readers aka fans).

    The newspaper has the copyright inculcated notion that they can sell copies, and now 'reads' as in pay-to-read. They're obsessed with charging for extracted value instead of selling their work.

    It's also amusing that the vendors of eBooks (aka copies) refuse to use a really convenient file-format (such as PDF), because they need to sell something inherently copyable that cannot be copied.

    The market for copies has ended.

    Authors and other writers are inexorably recognising that their words must be freely copyable and that copyright is counter-productive even if largely ineffective. The access control of a paywall is thus even worse than copyright from a writer's perspective (even if it appeals to a newspaper).

    We are seeing a resurgence in the market for intellectual work. The software engineers were first. The journalists will follow.

    Don't sell copies, sell your writing and set your readers free.

     

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  6.  
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    Benny Carter, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re:

    Then, please call it "British newspaper, The Times" as The Times of London is not its name, is an inaccurate description and makes you seem like one of those Americans who thinks that London is the whole of the UK.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 4:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No we are some of those American that believe that London is NOT the center of the univerase.

     

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  8.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Then, please call it "British newspaper, The Times" as The Times of London is not its name, is an inaccurate description and makes you seem like one of those Americans who thinks that London is the whole of the UK.

    I would agree strongly with this comment - except that since Murdoch bought it I really don't care.

    It isn't the same newspaper. The longstanding tradition that would have made me feel like defending its right to be known as "The Times" without adjective, establishing its status as an international newspaper - not even a British one, has been totally wiped out.

     

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  9.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 4:59am

    Re:

    "In the UK we have national newspapers.

    NOT FOR LONG LOL AMIRITE?"

    Well the Guardian seems to know what it is doing... but I suppose the plural means I have to find another likely survivor - and I'm not sure...

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    drew, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 5:13am

    the times

    Why would anybody think the NY Times??? If you mention The Times, in would be the The Times (based in London), the Times of India, the NY Times would only be third.

     

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  11.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, just New York, apparently. The name of the newspaper is "The Times", calling it anything else is inaccurate and sometimes annoying. Mind you, even with Murdoch in charge, they can probably spell "universe" correctly.

     

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  12.  
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    Lisae Boucher (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 6:11am

    Maybe the Times should ask their writers on which side of the PayWall they would like to have their articles. Thus, some could opt to stay outside the wall, thus be available for all the public. Others might decide to stay within the walled area, thus they're only read by anyone who is subscribed. By having writers outside the PayWall, the times would still have some interesting content for those who're not willing to pay. By having content on both sides, they will please some "freeloaders" while also keeping the paying subscribers happy.

     

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  13.  
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    WammerJammer (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 7:23am

    Need to be informed

    I, like millions of others have my News filtered through my iGoogle home page. I want Google/Yahoo to inform us in the header line of the news item that it is a pay item because many of the BIG boys in news (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, etc) only give you a paragraph of news and then send you to a page to subscribe to get the rest of the article. You know this just pisses me off and I then have to put that company on my don't buy list. Especially when there are plenty of news sources just begging to let you read their news, plus television is full of news channels. So once bitten then I avoid the company.

     

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  14.  
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    The Mad Hatter (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 7:36am

    Paywalls

    Murdoch appears bent on driving his own newspapers into receivership. It's too bad that this will kill some famous names. But this is what happens when someone as unintelligent as Murdoch ends up controlling what used to be a national treasure (The Times).

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    interval, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It isn't the same newspaper."

    The same might be said about the NY Times.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    interval, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re:

    The Guardian? Isn't that one just one step from being a tabloid, a la The Sun?

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    interval, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 7:43am

    Re: the times

    "...the NY Times would only be third."

    Not in the United States.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 7:57am

    the departure of a columnist who obviously thinks that he is a bigger draw than the entire rest of the newspaper isnt a big loss. if this is the "fallout" of a paywall, then let it keep falling, no big loss.

     

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  19.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're thinking of the Daily Mail.

     

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  20.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Key point ....

    "But I didn't start this blog for it to be the exclusive preserve of a limited few subscribers. I wrote it to entertain whosoever wishes to read it."

    That is a key point most people over look. For alot of people its about the art, it is something they like to do, it is their specialty and they want to share it, it is their hobby. I dont know about Tim Kevan but alot of people are going to write news and articles, not based on money, but because of want to create.

    Mike you wanna pipe in and tell us your view on the subject?

     

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  21.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 10:25am

    Re:

    "if this is the "fallout" of a paywall, then let it keep falling, no big loss."

    I agree with you fully on this one point. Let it keep falling until they have no reporters left ...

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re: writers absconding

    It won't be interesting, it'll be dull. It will fail because the papers don't provide unique information that save people money, like the WSJ or Consumer Reports.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re:

    he isnt a reporter. he is a blogger / op-ed writer who thinks his opinion is worth more than anyone else opinion. he thinks he is bigger than the paper. if he is, great, have a nice day, run your blog. but honestly, op-ed people tend to sink into obscurity when they are no longer getting all that free publicity of being in the paper every day. so honestly, let the whiner go away, replace him with someone who appreciated the exposure, and move along. he will likely miss the paper much more than people will miss him.

     

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  24.  
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    Modplan (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm sure that's how it works when the papers value magically exists because it is a newspaper, not built on the writers they hire.

     

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  25.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: the times

    "...the NY Times would only be third."

    Not in the United States.


    Population of India>>Population of US

     

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  26.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Key point ....

    Let me rephrase that ...

    "Mike you wanna pipe in and tell us your view on the subject?"

    as ...

    Mike do you want to pipe in and tell us about why you atarted this blog, what kept you going in the beginning, and why you continue?

    It is very relevant as to why Tim Kevan left the London Times. It is also relevant to the future of journalism. It shows the personal motivations of professional and non professional journalists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    tanygeo (profile), Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 3:29am

    replay

    I think that you need to check and see, my understanding is that flood insurance is available. One of the problems that the public may encounter is an agent that has not been to flood insurance education to sell it. That might have alot to do with it.. I think he said the other day that 33% of the claims for flood, were not in the flood plain. But, most people will not buy due to paying another premium….
    ===================================================================
    Insurance

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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