How the January storms swept the paywall argument out to sea

Paywall drama returns

David Higgerson

thedroneIn the months running up to Christmas, it felt as if the paywall argument was gathering some momentum within the regional press again.

At an NCTJ conference in November, deputy editor of the Bournemouth Echo Andy Martin said he’d introduce a paywall tomorrow, arguing that the industry should never have given away the ‘valuable commodity’ of online news. He argued that he had such confidence in the quality of his newsroom’s journalism that he’d put a paywall up tomorrow. A number of Newsquest editors posted Tweets backing him up.

I’m sure those words will have been well received in the Bournemouth Echo newsroom, but arguing against a paywall isn’t about claiming our content isn’t worth anything. It’s about being aware of what’s going on online, and the fact that there’s precious little evidence that people will pay for local news.

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