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As newspaper companies search for a magic formula for replacing declining online ad revenue with some form of paid content, the conventional…

As newspaper companies search for a magic formula for replacing declining online ad revenue with some form of paid content, the conventional wisdom has been that only financial pubs like the FT.com and WSJ.com have the audience with deep enough pockets to support such a venture. But, oddly enough, WSJ.com executive editor Alan Murray tells Nieman Journalism Lab’s Zachary Seward that anyone can do it.

While WSJ.com has gotten kudos for maintaining its pay wall from the beginning (Rupert Murdoch considered making the site free when he bought WSJ parent Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) last year, but eventually decided against that), the site is preparing to unveil a new subscription product. The site will begin targeting a subset of subscribers with a

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  1. David, it is not any "conventional wisdom" but a mistaken theory (or propaganda rather) by the so-called advocates of "free" internet who let some people believe that there can after all be such a thing as a free lunch. But this is impossible. Such claims are naïve, at least. They are a little like claiming that cars do not need to change oil every 3,000 miles, because… Look, my new Chevy has put on 5,000 so far, and she is just fine.

    But can Yahoo and Google exploit their users' enthusiasm and willingness to get fame rather then a fee forever? Can we all and always get away with the notion that we deserve the free ride; let's make “others” to pay?

    The internet is mature enough to leave behind the era of headlines and bullets of info only (which could have been for free). The high-end content, on the other hand, provided by professionals and creators costs. No one, not even the gurus of the free internet, want to publish their work for free. The online content and services are changing from mostly user-generated to mostly creator- and professional-generated, and it must be paid for by the users. There is no other (fair) way, no other wisdom, conventional or not.

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