The internet is a very powerful tool for education and for research. At a click of a mouse button I can escape my parochial world-view and embark on a fascinating journey of discovery that knows no boundaries. Except for paywalls.
In theory, the payment of a fee to view web content will generate revenues for web sites such as those set up by the news media. In practice, that theory is badly flawed. There are no news-story reporting police: anyone can report news. Well, in any country that has any pretentions of being a democracy.
Newsday.com has performed the bold experiment of setting up a paywall. You can see basic headlines, but to see the whole story you have to pay. Or go elsewhere.
Please compare these two ways of covering exactly the same story:
Did you spot the difference?
Given a choice between paying for news or not paying for news, guess what most people choose. Yup!
Since instituting its pay-for-content policy, newday.com has had only 35 people sign up as subscribers. If that isn't bad enough, its web traffic stats are no cause for boardroom rejoicing.