John Humphrys: 'Good journalism has to be paid for or it will not survive'
Broadcaster John Humphrys backs the idea of papers charging for their content online in a Sun article today - and argues that the survival of newspapers matter even more to democracy than the BBC.
He writes: "Good journalism has to be paid for, just as we have to pay for the plumber who fixes a leak, or it will not survive.
"And let's be clear: We have the best papers in the world. Full stop. I want to keep it that way.
"You might expect me to worry more about the survival of the BBC, but love and respect it though I do, newspapers matter even more to a robust system of democracy.
He adds: "They do what we cannot and should not do - they are rude, offensive, disrespectful and bloody-minded.
"They agree with the great humorist HL Mencken who said the correct relationship between journalists and politicians is that between the dog and the lamppost."
"Sure, it's important to have carefully argued, dispassionate analysis but I want to hear the voice of The Sun reader, the saloon bar, the Millwall terrace and the smart middle-class dinner party.
"The BBC broadcasts other people's opinions but it has none of its own. The papers have columnists who are troublemakers, iconoclasts and gossip-mongers and they tell us how they think we should vote.
Humphrys argues: "And we must not put the papers at risk by thinking we do not have to pay for them." You can read Humphrys' article here for free online before the Sun puts up its paywall.
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
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