Free Content To Blame For Newspapers’ Predicament?

Angered by the latest in what have been successive job cuts at Trinity Mirror’s Media Wales division, on-site NUJ chapel father Martin Shipton has put his finger on why news publishers’ revenue is falling…

“Shipton believes the biggest reason behind Media Wales’ current ‘financial plight’ was the original decision by Bailey and her fellow directors to make all content freely available online,” according to Press Gazette.

“To think that all print advertising revenue would somehow migrate is ridiculous,” Shipton tells Press Gazette. “We level the blame at Sly Bailey and the directors – they conditioned people in Britain to expect free content.

“That is the most significant reason for why newspaper groups like ours are now in this trading position.”

Media Wales’ chief reporter, Shipton is one of the sharpest, most respected old-school correspondents around, well connected in political circles, where some politicians are angered by what they see as Trinity Mirror’s increasing inability to properly report their work.

But where does the balance of newspapers’ predicament really lay – in that readers aren’t paying for their content, or in the intense competition they are facing from a new range of sources and media?

Back in November, Bailey said: “Just because our journalism is expensive to produce, it doesn’t necessarily follow that someone will pay for it. They are always one click away from any number of sites.” She acknowledged: “Lots of mistakes were made 20 years ago, at the dawn of the web.” But she is bullish about prospects for charging on devices.

Amid the latest round of newspaper restructuring, Media Wales is throwing a bone – “an increased focus on community-generated content”.