Lots to digest in McKinsey Quarterly’s discussion piece on content and journalism.

Shirky argues that the only successful paywalls are for price-insensitive audiences. I guess this could be true in the mainstream, but is it true for specialist sector publications? Some interesting comments as well, although it seems too easy to be trapped into an argument based on what’s happening today: “here’s where money is flowing on the internet – high value and apps – so that’s got to be the future of paid content”.

I hadn’t heard of ProPublica: philanthropically-supported investigative journalism. Maybe this is the future of this type of forensic journalism? I wonder how much they fell into the standard trap of trying to create a forever-viable organisation rather than seeing what they could do in the short term with the funds that they had? Interesting that he mentions legal cover as one of the key deterrents for solo blogger investigative journalism (c.f. Simon Singh being given leave to appeal). And Battlestar Galactica fans will love the concept of hydrofracking ;->

While I like the concept that a small change could work to transform the news business, I find the quasi-DRM AP3P structure outlined by AP to be risible. The internet routes around this kind of stuff. Unless the content is as good as or better then existing content and as easy to use, then the idea of the hub or uber-aggregator is doomed. On customer service grounds too: clearly the first thing I want from news is to Protect, Point (OK, maybe) and Pay. Sheesh.