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Will the paywall protect Times journalists from public opinion?

The Guardian’s Martin Belam makes an interesting point about the impact of the paywall on journalists whose work later falls under scrutiny. Have the Times and Sunday Times built a kind of protective layer around their journalists online?

Belam compares the recent outcry regarding AA Gill’s review last week, accused of containing homophobic language in reference to Clare Balding, with Jan Moir’s column on Stephen Gately, which saw links to the story circulating through social media in no time. In the latter case, latecomers to the event could still read the original writing for themselves online.

It does rather hark back to a previous age – where reporters reported on what had been said about a story, and you had to take their word for it, rather than the audience being able to Google it for themselves. As it is, with the paywall in place, rather than making our own minds up about whether AA Gill was nasty and homophobic, it now seems we’ll have to wait for the PCC to judge it for us.

See his full post here…

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  • http://twitter.com/socialtechno Gordon Rae

    We can still make our own minds up about this dispute because the words complained of have been reproduced in several places on the web, and in The Guardian and The Daily Mail, and the published extracts have been long enough to establish the context of Gill’s remarks. The main problem caused by the paywall is that if the journalist (in this case Gill) wants to claim that his words have been misquoted, distorted, or taken out of context, he has to arrange publication outside the paywall.

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