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« Cirque du Soleil: The show's a wow | Main | Orville Schell on journalism in a Blade Runner-like city (Baghdad, that is) »

March 18, 2006

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It calls into question why The Guardian has an on-line edition at all; is Comment is Free not doing a better job?

But first, the contributors are not from all across the political spectrum. They are mainly Guardian staff writers and people you would expect to see contributing in The Guardian - and often do.

The Guardian and Observer were quite early in moving their print editions onto the web. Today you can subscribe to the print edition on-line (a very neat clickable layout that includes downloading the page or the news cutting as a .pdf).

Can it be too long before they get rid of their on-line edition (www.newsunlimited.co.uk) entirely, leaving us with print (buy it IRL), print on-line (subscribe on-line) and Comment is Free (acces is free, too)?

Has The Guardian found the correct response of Old Media to the new environment? To adopt and adapt? I guess it's a little early to come to a decision on that, but it certainly looks like it to me.

It's a good move, no doubt about it. The business model? Simple: paternalism. In other words, The Guardian appears to be footing the bill for now, and it might make something from advertising further down the road. Enough to pay the journalists - highly unlikely. Their "pay" is the freedom of a platform where they can write freely, gain notoriety.

Comment is Free is in the good tradition of blog = opinion, which probably restricts advertising. Homw many editorial pages carry ads? Not many, and it doesn't take long to work out why advertisers, risk-shy, might prefer other "pages" in a newspaper but also online.

This is an extended and enlarge Op-Ed page, a good one, but we must not confuse that with a newspaper. The reporting, the gatekeeping and the effort to balance what we write is still a key part of the work of journalists (I'm one).

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