The twilight of gratuity

Quality journalism is seeking to recover and mark its fair value, leaving behind the free news models that for many years laid the foundations for the conquest of audiences.

They are now considering multiple options to ensure the survival of the written press, battered by a progressive decline in its income that metastasized with the coronavirus pandemic and that condemned many traditional newspapers to closure, drastically cut their editions or simply pushed them towards the digital conversion.

Paid subscription or so-called “philanthropic funding” modalities whereby readers contribute a membership fee or state subsidies to civic or service journalism are among those options.

There is also now a strong movement for large technology companies that provide digital content to pay for the news that newspapers produce and that they redirect on multiple platforms, receiving huge benefits from advertising.

Paywalls, which have shown that they can be sources of economic oxygen for newspapers that have digital editions, have represented a good basis for financing quality journalism, which costs a lot.

The main newspapers in the world have seen their income grow exponentially through these walls, which are offered in different prices, content quotas, price discounts for goods and services, and which contribute to the sustainability of paper editions.

More than compensation resources due to the devastating pandemic, the crucial thing is to preserve the independence and strength of the free press as a shield for freedoms in democracy and as guarantors of content of depth and reliability in these times when false news intoxicates the global information ecosystem.

  • Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.