NBR to lock down 20% of content

Free content has spawned a 'huge band of amateur, untrained, unqualified bloggers', says publisher Barry Colman

The National Business Review is planning to lock down around 20% of its web content for the first time from tomorrow.

In a notice to newsletter subscribers, NBR publisher Barry Colman says selected top stories will be available to paid subscribers only.

"Our move to subscriber only content has been driven by our belief that laying off journalists as a cost-cutting tactic is a route to oblivion for newspapers," Colman says, acknowledging previous failures to charge for content.

"I know there have been previous attempts by New Zealand publishers to charge for their news and these have failed and left them so far scared to attempt new initiatives. "What we will be introducing tomorrow will not make the mistake of providing journalism as usual and charging for it. We know that we will have to provide a consistently superior news service and I believe you will quickly see we are up to the challenge." Asking people to subscribe, Colman says we are at a "tipping point in The Great New Journalism Adventure". Colman writes the "madness" of existing media models has seen aggregators profit from the supply of free news copy.  "Worse still the model has spawned a huge band of amateur, untrained, unqualified bloggers who have swarmed over the internet pouring out columns of unsubstantiated 'facts' and hysterical opinion," he writes. "Most of these 'citizen journalists' don’t have access to decision makers and are infamous for their biased and inaccurate reporting on almost any subject under the sun (while invariably criticising professional news coverage whose original material they depend on to base their diatribes)." He writes that the alternative is decimated newsrooms processing public relations handouts or "unedited government propaganda from their fully staffed team of spin doctors". Colman did not return a call for comment

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