Now it would appear that the New York Times will follow the Murdochs of this world - though with certain differences of opinion. No gratuitous Google-bashing going on in this case, for example. More on this subject here.
It seems that minds are being made up with a rather unseemly haste as economic crisis puts a brake on advertising revenues. How this will affect the web is unclear. I suppose that in some way it may drive even more people away from "professional" websites and into the expanding embrace of family- and friend-sourced communication and content. We may find that newspaper publishing becomes even less relevant to our daily habits as Facebook, Twitter and traditional blogging all tie up our time in essentially Web 2.0 focussed activity.
The truth of the matter is that it was our love affair with mobile phones that really started the rot. More than any other technology before or since, they have captured our hard-earned incomes with both pay-as-you-go and more traditional contracts. In doing so, they have allowed us to publish our thoughts on a one-to-one basis via voice, text, photo and - more recently - video in such a way that an industry can be built on the back of a viable economic model at the same time as satisfying the ever-increasing need of 21st century citizens to express themselves rather than be the captive object of makers of received opinion.
Now this one-to-one relationship has become multiple and globalised, we simply can't shrug of this intruding desire to both communicate actively and incessantly register in a plastic sense - somewhere - our thoughts and musings.
Newspapers which don't get this interaction or change in behaviours won't get the 21st century. It's as simple as that.
(The above link via StKonrath's Twitter feed.)