Networked news

This morning’s Observer column.

As newspapers fold, the hunt is on for a workable business model for online news. Lots of things are being tried, but none of them provides the revenue growth needed to offset the income siphoned off by changes in media consumption patterns and the diversion of advertising revenues to the web.

Things have got so bad that Rupert Murdoch has tasked a team with finding a way of charging for News Corp content. This is the “make the bastards pay” school of thought. Another group of fantasists speculate about ways of extorting money from Google, which they portray as a parasitic feeder on their hallowed produce. And recently a few desperadoes have made the pilgrimage to Capitol Hill seeking legislative assistance and/or federal bailouts for newspapers.

It’s difficult to keep one's head when all about one people are losing theirs, but let us have a go…

Coincidentally, there have been (at least) two other pieces on this general theme this week — an uncharacteristically Daily Mail-type rant by Bryan Appleyard in the Sunday Times, and an excellent, balanced article in the Economist.

And I’ve been Slashdotted! In the old days, that would mean that the Observer’s servers would fall over.

Later: This is probably all due to Cory blogging the column in BoingBoing. And the biggest irony is that the piece didn’t appear in today’s paper edition of the Observer. No idea why, but I suspect a glitch in the paper’s content management system.