Whilst this could be construed as a vote of no-confidence in the co.uk domain, I don’t think it is. It’s more, as Tanya Cordrey mentions in her blog post, a move towards a more international set-up.
“… this move reflects our evolution from a national print newspaper based only in the UK – reaching hundreds of thousands of people once a day – to a leading global news and media brand with an ever-growing worldwide audience of tens of millions accessing Guardian journalism every minute of every day.”
The post goes on to discuss recent scoops and triumphs concerning specifically American news. Given that the Guardian is not yet behind a paywall whereas US ‘industry titans’ like the WSJ and The New York Times are, this does seem like a transparent power play for market share. I cannot blame the Guardian for doing this however it does seem like a loss leader, or rather, not the general direction of travel for the industry. How can this be sustainable for them? Their writers and editors need to eat too.
It reminds me of advice I was given when I first graduated some time ago, namely, it’s fine to work for free to get a start, but ultimately, my skills and abilities are worth something and therefore to continue to work for free is detrimental. The Guardian may make short term gains now but when the playing field is level, that is, when they do start charging for content, I wonder how loyal their readers will be?
On the other side of this, The Guardian is a damn good publication and I’m pleased it might now reach a wider audience, perhaps one day papers will not be limited by country or language?
In terms of the publishing industry, wouldn’t it be cool if someone formed a digital subscription model based on a variety of papers? Allowing users 10 (say) per day/week/month based on their news consumption and publication preferences. The news buffet!
Two articles from The Guardian, a few from the FT (it covers international news very well!), some more from The New York Times and maybe a few more magazine-y publications too, like The Atlantic and The New Statesmen. Wouldn’t that make for a rich, varying tapestry of news and culture? Something to delight the senses and inform the mind?