A mass market for quality journalism?

I am a bit late to this blog post by Clay Shirky but I found it fascinating. Explaining why paywalls might get 2% of your readers to pay, but alienate 95% of your advertisers, he says:

“There has never been a mass market for good journalism in this country.”

He is talking about the US but similar considerations may apply here.

If it turns out that entertainment sells more online ad space than news, and if it turns out that if news of itself is to generate revenue through pay walls or subscriptions, it must be of a high enough quality to attract the niche (as opposed to mass) news market, will the advent of de bundled online news sources actually lead to journalism that is lesser in volume but higher in quality? Alternatively will it eventually be impossible to turn a dollar from news? If so will news be the preserve of publicly owned news organizations and passionate amateurs?

Obviously this is not a new discussion and the commercial news media have been grappling with these issues for more than a decade. But the place of each of the fourth and fifth estates is continuing to evolve.

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