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"Pathetic" criticism of Murdoch's paywalls

Rupert Murdoch draws new criticism as he prepares paywalls for The Times newspaper...

Rupert Murdoch's plans to put paywalls up on more of his newspaper properties has been strongly criticized but the geek community, and also journalism watchdogs such as Jeff Jarvis, an associate professor of journalism at City University in New York.

Mr Jarvis, who writes the influential BuzzMachine blog, has emerged as the most vocal critic of Mr Murdoch's paywall plans.

He headlined a recent column: Rupert Murdoch's pathetic paywall

"Rupert Murdoch has declared surrender. The future defeated him.

By building his paywall around Times Newspapers, he has said that he has no new ideas to build advertising. He has no new ideas to build deeper and more valuable relationships with readers and will send them away if they do not pay. Even he has no new ideas to find the efficiencies the internet can bring in content creation, marketing, and delivery."

Really? Having a paywall doesn't mean you have no advertising, and that you have no new ideas. You can have both.

Why does Mr Jarvis think one excludes the other? Rupert Murdoch now has more to play with, he can experiment with creative paywall ideas and creative advertising. He can play around with what content goes behind the paywall and what is free.

Jeff Jarvis writes:

"I used to work for Murdoch at his American magazine TV Guide. I respected his balls. It is a pity to see them gone."

He has the balls to experiment with new business models, risking millions of dollars in revenues; he has the balls to be doing very well running a media giant that makes big bets in movies (Avatar), newspapers, TV, radio, and online.

If Rupert Murdoch succeeds in figuring out an online media business model lots of others will benefit, because many other media businesses will be able to adopt similar approaches.

There's nothing to be gained by criticizing business leaders for challenging accepted notions of doing business -- that's precisely where the potential breakthroughs can be found. We should be encouraging more of that type of risk taking.

Why is Jeff Jarvis is so passionate about proving Rupert Murdoch is wrong? Especially since he runs the New Business Models for News Project -- you'd think he would keen to see Rupert Murdoch try and create a new business model for news. Mr Jarvis certainly hasn't figured it out.

What Rupert Murdoch is doing is a fascinating media experiment. We need more of that kind of experimentation -- not less.