If Rupert Murdoch makes the Wall Street Journal free, here is what the front page might look like in a year or so.
To compensate for the lost subscription revenue, a free WSJ will have to make up for it with ad revenue. To do that, they will have to attract a more mass market audience. Call me elitist, but I think when any website begins attracting *the masses* the quality of the content goes down considerably. Why? Because to lure the masses, you need content about celebrities, catchy linkbait titles, easy mindless top 10 lists, and other stuff that doesn't require thinking – just following.
I love the Wall Street Journal because they have content that I can't get anywhere else. They have one million people who actually pay money to access their content online, and instead they want to compete on free? Why? If this happens, my guess is we will see fewer articles about small cap companies and more stuff about Apple and Google, the darlings of the masses. There won't be any more intelligent discussion about changes in accounting rules or the intricacies of CDOs. Instead we'll get self-help style business jibberish.
Ok, ok. You're right. It won't be that bad, but sometimes you have to exaggerate to make a point. The Wall Street Journal is special. They should be proud of what they do and of the subscriber base they have. Making the WSJ compete for the attention of the mindless masses would be like turning the Smithsonian into a night club. WSJ reporters have better things to do than play the game of who can write the best linkbait.