David Mitchell breaks ranks to question Guardian paywall stance

As the Times and Sunday Times’ paywalls went up earlier this month, the Guardian welcomed a former Times blogger and readers to its website with some cheeky editorial.

The Times has done the same with columnists from the paper writing and blogging about their support for paid content. But interesting space on Comment is Free on Sunday was given over to some-time Guardian writer and comedian David Mitchell, who took the title’s strategy to task:

By implying that it thinks content should be free for moral reasons, the Guardian website is playing an extremely dangerous game. It’s an approach which not only makes it hypocritical to charge for the printed newspaper and the iPhone app, but also gives hostages to fortune: what if the Murdoch paywall, or some other “micropayment” system, starts to work? Are we to believe that the Guardian wouldn’t institute something similar? Or would it be happy to be reduced to the online equivalent of a freesheet?

Full post on Comment is Free at this link…

One thought on “David Mitchell breaks ranks to question Guardian paywall stance

  1. Martin Belam

    It is an interesting piece from Mitchell, which was, I guess, mostly aimed at the print Observer audience. The comment thread is a good one, and Shane Richmond responded over on the Telegraph’s blogs: Free content isn’t a right but David Mitchell is still wrong about paywalls. I’ve also picked up on one of the points often raised about the paywall – that star writers will worry about diminishing page views and Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter shares. I don’t think being behind the paywall means you are not being read – The Times still has a circulation of over 500,000

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