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The Wall Street Journal website — paywalled from the very beginning — turns 20 years old today
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June 4, 2013, 10:05 a.m.
LINK: pressthink.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   June 4, 2013

Jay Rosen writes about how history of the The New York Times’ paywall is being reshaped after the fact. His argument is with a quote from NYT Co. CEO Mark Thompson, speaking at Columbia’s business school graduation, about the paywall’s reception two years ago:

The consensus among the experts was that it wouldn’t work, was foolhardy in fact and not needed. People just weren’t prepared to pay for high quality content on the internet and, besides, wasn’t digital advertising enough — wouldn’t it grow until, just as with print advertising in the golden age of physical newspapers, it alone was enough to support America’s newsrooms?

Here’s Jay:

The part I put in bold is bad information. In my view it should not have been passed along by Mark Thompson to the graduates of one of the world’s leading business schools.

Jay’s post is a useful corrective. Lots of Nieman Lab material (and me) quoted in there.

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