The Philadelphia Inquirer’s decision to protect its print newspaper franchise by holding all but breaking news from its web site is getting the scorn it deserves. One can understand the impulse to give readers more reasons to buy the paper. And, perhaps it might have been a good idea to implement this policy years ago, before it became a decided issue that virtually all newspaper content should also be available online.
The problem is that just at the time the Inquirer needs to step into the future, recognizing that its online versions are the future, they are making their online product worse. As Jeff Jarvis said, “They know that the internet is the present and the future and the paper is the past. Protecting the past is no strategy for the future. It is suicide.” The leap to online is scary and challenging, but it is preferable to suicide at a slower speed.