Daily Telegraph's Paywall: Student Journalists Predict The Future Of Paying For News

Would You Pay?

On Wednesday, the Daily Telegraph announced its intention to launch a paywall while The Sun's chief executive hinted the tabloid could also start making readers pay for its content.

As expected, writers and reporters remain divided over the Telegraph's decision, but what of those who will be defining the future of news - student journalists?

The Huffington Post UK spoke to several student journalists about what they thought of the Telegraph's paywall, and whether the newspaper bucked the trend for expecting consumers to pay for news.

Nottingham Student Oscar Williams, editor-in-chief of Impact Magazine, believes paywalls are "sustainable":

"Other publications are going to have to follow in the Telegraph's and the Times' footsteps unless someone miraculously works out how to make online advertising more profitable.

"I can imagine a number of independent news sites setting up to take the place of the nationals. Will they end up re-hashing stories published in newspapers? Probably. But it's not all bad. There's no financial incentive to produce a brilliant investigative scoop for online media unless more people are going to pay for it. Pay walls will make it attractive to break great stories online.

"Eventually I think all the nationals will have some sort of pay wall, even if it's only for particular sections - some have suggested Guardian Media because so many people rely on it professionally.

"Open journalism - community management, more social media integration, interactive content - is going to be pivotal if national newspapers want to engage more with their readers.

"We're the internet generation and we expect everything to be free: music, social media, TV and news. But if you look at the popularity of sites like Spotify, NetFlix and iTunes there's proof that our generation is willing to pay for premium content if it's significantly better than the alternative. There's no reason why the same rule shouldn't apply to news.

"The future is more pay walls, better premium apps, tailored content and advertising, more open journalism and improved Facebook and Twitter integration."

Newcastle University student George Sandeman is news editor for Courier Online. He says paywalls are a key part of newspapers' funding models.

"The current model operated by big publications clearly isn't sustainable. Staff sizes are likely to keep on shrinking and perhaps some titles lost all together. Paywalls are a part of an individual title's income model but as print circulations continue to decrease, they'll become increasingly important.

"For a traditional title to stay alive a paywall is probably a key part of the funding model which will determine both the size of the staff and the kind of work it produces.

"In 10 years I think multiple traditional print titles will be dead. Whilst big media, focusing on general interest, will continue to exist I think you'll see a lot more small team, issues specific websites delivering some news.

"Whilst there will undoubtedly be free access providers, I think there is definitely a market for subscription news but the size of that is going to determine the sustainability of big media titles."

What do you think of paywalls? Tweet us @HPUKStudents and let us know.

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