Former Express editor Richard Addis did some interesting sums for the media Guardian in making a business case for all papers going free within 10 years.
He’s right on the percentages (most of the revenue comes from ads, not circulation), bang on when he talks about the consequences (you spend more on printing, less on marketing) and makes a valid point about the lifting of restraints to web publishing.
But I did a double-take when he said a £1m cut in the freelance bill could be justified by “making better use of citizen journalism”.
Last year I launched a publishing economics module for MA students at the University of Westminster. It ran over two days and was project-based. On day one, we produce a business plan and saw a make-believe magazine through to the newsstands. On day two, we deal with the consequences of over-spending, under promoting and wishful thinking.
There’s a lot to be said for widening the information net . . . but replacing bona fide freelancers?
I’ll see if I can work that into the next course. I’d love to see what a few bright minds could make of that.