'Tragedy Porn' Drags Down News Sources
Online outlets mull pay models, putting a price on sensational stories
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 7, 2009 2:21 PM CDT
This undated image provided Thursday Sept. 3, 2009 by the Dugard family shows recently recovered kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard as a child.   (AP Photo/courtesy of Dugard family)
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(Newser) – Word is that newspapers will soon start charging for online news—but no one’s quite sure what it’s worth. Take a story like the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping: It’s “tragedy porn” that “neither informs nor enlightens. It merely titillates,” writes Simon Dumenco for Advertising Age. “It's an extreme case, sure,” he notes, but infotainment seems to be a growing proportion of the news. Are we willing to pay for it?

“It's a deep irony that the we're-going-to-charge-for-news movement is being led, in part,” by Rupert Murdoch, who’s “done perhaps the most to pornify the news in the past few decades”  with “lurid and sensational” stories—not to mention the topless models in Murdoch's British papers, Dumenco writes. The bad news for Murdoch: the porn industry itself is struggling to compete with free alternatives.