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Digital editors to debate online paywalls

A group of senior journalists is to address the hot topic of whether newspapers should make web users pay to see their stories online.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and publisher Trinity Mirror are both planning to introduce paid-for content to their websites over the next year in a move which could revolutionise the industry’s business model.

Now the Digital Editors Network is to explore the issue at its next meeting in Preston next month.

Martha Stone, of the World Association of Newspapers, will be leading a discussion on paywalls as part of a day of free events that will also see speakers from Microsoft, the Press Association, The Guardian and UCLan.

Peter Bale, of MSN, will be speaking about the offer made by MSN Local to work in partnership with regional publishers.

And Tony Johnston, head of Press Association Training, will speak on PA’s experiment in teaming up with Trinity Mirror on Merseyside to report on local government and public bodies.

The Digital Editors’ Network is run by the Journalism Department at UCLan in Preston and journalists from the regional and national media.

Nick Turner, head of digital content at the CN Group, said: “We’ve got one of our best ever line-ups for this autumn’s Digital Editors’ Network so with spaces extremely limited I would urge people to book a place as soon as they can.”

For more information go to or email Nick Turner at nturner@cngroup.


Darren (23/09/2009 12:04:12)
My view is that applying online paywall’s to their websites could be the worst move newspaper groups could make.
Paidcontent have just done research that suggests that only 5% of people would pay for such content.
It wouldn’t replace the loss in newspaper revenue plus they would also lose digital advertising revenue as traffic gets stunted.
People would also look to alternative websites as their source of news and newspapers would gradually lose their ‘brand’

Francois (23/09/2009 14:24:56)
Darren, there’s a lot of support for your view, which has arguably become ‘common wisdom’ amongst amongst more than just the digirati. Perhaps there are ways to look beyond paywalls to new (non-advertising) revenue streams. Research we’ve been doing on online business models certainly point in that direction. Hope to see you at the Forum, or at the (free) online Webcast.