Friday, December 11, 2009

Declining Standards

Here's a way to put an optimistic slant on something. Roy Greenslade, writing in the Guardian about the Evening Standard (for which he also writes a column)

The fact that newsagents are willing to pay to ensure they receive supplies of the London Evening Standard is heartening...

Several people who used to be regular Standard readers have been frustrated by not being to get hold of copies since it went free. They tell me: "I'd pay for it if only I could find it."

An alternative view is that the Standard has managed to become the only newspaper in the world that has managed to find people who would pay to a read a newspaper and then ensure they cannot even get a free copy. (And then there's the question of how many news agents are willing to pay to give the paper away).

When out and about in areas of the capital outwith the major transport hubs I've found it hard to track down a copy; a few people I've spoken to have made the same complaint. If you can't get a copy of what is now London's only evening paper in Bloomsbury, of all places, it does rather suggest that Standard has managed to blast its own feet to pieces rather spectacularly.

But then I'm somewhat sceptical that free journalism is a good way to make money (which can then fund some proper journalistic digging). The old maxim - if you're giving it away for free, it's worth nothing - might apply here.

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