One of the reasons why the NY Times eventually did away with its old "paywall" was that its big name columnists started complaining that fewer and fewer people were reading them. We've suggested in the past that newspapers who decide to put up a paywall may find that their best reporters decide to go elsewhere, knowing that locking up their own content isn't a good thing in terms of career advancement. So, with Cablevision deciding to put Newday behind a paywall
, it didn't take long for some of its columnists to start to bailing. The NY Times is reporting that Newsday columnist Saul Friedman quit
and did so while publishing an open letter on why paywalls are a bad idea
, while also telling the NY Times that he knew his column was popular with people outside of Newsday's footprint, and he was upset that those people would not be able to read his column and that he wouldn't be able to send out links to his columns.
Oh, one other thing? Mr. Friedman is 80 years old and worked for newspapers for over 50 years. In other words, he's not just some "young kid who thinks everything online should be free" as we're so often told is the real problem. News organizations that lock up their content are increasingly going to discover that it's more and more difficult to attract top talent when compared to publications that actually help raise the journalists' profiles.