Paying for online news: Sorry, but the math just doesn’t work.

The morning’s RSS scan brings another couple of entrants in the ongoing conversation about paying for news on newspaper web sites:

  • As Roy Greenslade reports, News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch favors charging: “People reading news for free on the web, that’s got to change.”
  • In in an AJR article by Paul Farhi questioning the wisdom of AP’s decision, years ago, to start selling its content to online-only publishers, AP president and CEO Tom Curley is quoted as favoring reader fees, as well: “The readers and viewers are going to have to pay more. Advertising is not there. Advertising will likely be contracting. So there has to be a shift. If I had tried to suggest this a couple of years ago, I’d be hollered out of the room. Last year the realization started to occur. I would say the conversation has now turned from a whisper into a roar. Media CEOs are saying, ‘I’ve got to charge.’”

OK, newspaper CEOs, let’s have a look at that urge to charge you’re roaring about every morning when you wake up. I ran some numbers derived from the NAA’s just-reported 2008 newspaper revenue recap. Here’s what the back of my envelope says:

Read the rest of this post at Nieman Journalism Lab.