Howard Kurtz, Washington Post staff writer and columnist, answered questions today from readers as part of the Post’s live discussion session. Amidst questions about TV news anchors, Sarah Palin and media coverage of President Obama’s relationship with Professor Gates, he answered a question about a new business model for journalism:
…I hope we in the newspaper biz find a way to accept some payment from people who appreciate that serious journalism costs money and are willing to contribute their share.
And last Monday in a live discussion, the Post’s managing editors answered a similar question:
We, like most other newspapers, would love to figure out a simple way to charge for content online that doesn’t hurt our web traffic. A significant majority of our online readers come through a specific search for a specific article and are from all over the US and the world. With current technologies and availability of information on multiple free sites, we believe it would be difficult to start charging. But we do hope we can figure out a way to get paid for our content online, as we do in print. Stay tuned.
When the Post will initiate a pay wall is still uncertain, but rumor has it drastic cutbacks have freed up funding to unite Woodward and Bernstein for the investigation.