There is another remark I wanted to make around amplification being the new circulation.
If we accept this framing of the new news system for a moment, it might lead us to believe that paywalls a la Rupert Murdoch constitute indeed an act of shooting oneself in the proverbial foot.
Let’s assume for a moment that the way to reach people online is less about signing up subscribers and more about amplification.
In a sense, the newspaper sales model can be associated with “push” and the amplification model with “pull”. Through subscription and sales outlets, stuff is pushed to people on certain terms, but only after recieving the package will they find out what they appreciate and what not. What they subsequently do like and decide to amplify is what they have pulled out as signal from the noise.
You can’t put it back into the tube, Mr. Murdoch!
In such a world, where pull trumps push and amplification trumps circulation, any content behind paywalls cannot be amplified.
Or rather, of course the message can be amplified – Washington Post readers also have Twitter accounts – but the paywall discourages the referencing of the original source.
So, if amplification is the new circulation, perhaps the amplifiers (that’s us) won’t care so much about (verifying) the original source, especially when it’s made cumbersome to do so. If important enough, we’ll do the fact-checking somehow routing around the paywall. Perhaps we’ll find our own sources.
How about if the half-time of news is approaching to zero, much like the cost of storage of digital content is approaching to zero? In a variation to Chris Anderson, will it make best business sense to give the news away for free and sell something else? Some type of premium content? Live experiences?
In such scenario, high-quality news including investigative reporting will merely be a brand builder, an investment rather than a business of its own.
Next up: if paid news is dead, how about advertizing?