An announcement by The Globe and Mail that some of its financial coverage would be restricted to subscribers next year drew a curious reaction from commenters — many of whom are certain that it will represent the start of a slope that they won't pay to climb.
The backlash might be viewed as validation for the company — which now fends for itself after being unclenched from Bell Media — considering the emergent competition that led the Globe to previously unlock all its content in March 2008.
Back then, the trial paralleled an effort by The New York Times to offset the cost of reporting news online by charging for access to opinionators. But the market value of a sermonizing columnist was in free-fall before social media kicked in.
After all, if merely spouting off was a sufficient business model, then it would allow the wealth to be spread to those who leave feedback. Yet many newspaper old-timers would still rather not acknowledge their respondents. More typical in the web journalism field is a feeling of contempt toward those "conversation" joiners.