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I have today withdrawn the BabyBarista Blog from The Times in reaction to their plans to hide it away behind a paywall along with their other content.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.

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

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27 Comments
Richard (profile) says:

Re: 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.

lindy (profile) says:

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!

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

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.

Lisae Boucher (profile) says:

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.

WammerJammer (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

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?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

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.

tanygeo (profile) says:

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

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