Murdoch serious about building pay walls

WSJRupert Murdoch said last Wednesday he planned to charge for online content in an attempt generate revenue for his media conglomerate News Corporation. At his corporation’s earnings call, Murdoch ruffled feathers when he announced his intention to keep information from being readily and freely available as it had been before. His declaration?:

Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting.

And though there was initial speculation, Murdoch apparently meant business. The Wall Street Journal Web site has posted job listings in the past week calling for positions that will help create “a new business-focused Web site.”

Included are listings for a senior editor —“This is a rare opportunity to help shape a new site that will break ground in the paid-content arena” — with deep knowledge of the business world.

A markets editor — “The Wall Street Journal Online is seeking an energetic markets editor to manage the investing and finance section of a new business Web site. The job requires strong news judgment, a deep understanding of investing and markets and a sharp sense of what works online.”

And an online editor — “The Wall Street Journal Online is seeking an energetic editor with strong business-journalism and multimedia publishing skills to work on a new business Web site. This is a rare opportunity to work on a new site that will further expand the Journal’s online profile.”

And though the 78-year old Murdoch had never browsed a Web site as of a year ago, according Michael Wolff, the author of the biography “The Man Who Owns the News,” at least Murdoch can count on young, sprightly editors to build his pay walls for him.

Pay walls may break his news sites, but at least they won’t break him. He’ll still be reading his newspaper in Australia.

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