Is the internet destroying quality journalism ?

To the Intelligence Squared debate at methodist central hall to consider this question.

and the answer from the floor was an overwhelming no. Not difficult to see why.

1) Quality papers have rarely been financially viable in the first place (some exceptions obviously like the DT). Most are subsidized by sister tabloids,an indulgent proprietor or are basically a charity ( The Guardian). If ever the page three gals on The Sun are banned the high minded souls at The Times should march on Parliament-those ladies have been paying their salaries for years.

2) Much quality journalism is a desperate attempt to fill the space with something interesting- there is way too much supply of column inches.The internet, as Alan Rusbridger has pointed out, has improved things. Anyone who prints ill-informed guff is quickly corrected via the online comment section.A sort of rapid rebuttal for bullshitters that it is refreshing to see.

3) Newspapers are now agonizing about the for free culture of the web, but they climbed aboard with alacrity 10 years ago and made their websites free (most of them). Surely, they thought, if we build a big audience the money will follow.It didn’t. Google ate their lunch. On the evidence of last night most do not know what to do about it. AA Gill was in denial. David Elstein grappled manfully with the problem and Matthew Paris threw his hands up in the air and said “nobody knows.”

Elegant contributions from all, but not a businessman in sight. Everyone was really waiting for Rupert to make the big move.

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