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Dan Conover at Xark argues against the newspaper publishers’ campaign to charge readers for on-line news.

Conover describes the move as a suicide pact. While describing the idea that readers should pay for the professionally created content they consume as reasonable, he says attempts to force them to pay are “post-rational”.

He points out some of the main flaws, including the fact that consumers don’t want to pay for news and that previous attempts to make them pay have failed. But Conver points out newspaper publishers are no longer listening to reason and are determined to plough ahead with paid content.

Speaking as someone who has spent more than 30 years working as a journalist – most of that time on newspapers – I’d love to see publishers find a way to make on-line news profitable.

If Fairfax can only convince a handful of Australian business people to stump up cash to read the highly-targeted and immensely useful Australian Financial Review on-line, what chance to other newspaper publishers have?

You need nerves of steel to bet against Rupert Murdoch, but this time, he and the other newspaper owners are going in the wrong direction – readers are not going to pay to read news. And they definitely will not do so while there are free alternatives.

Xark!: The newspaper suicide pact.

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