Is the Guardian a success or a failure? In the Washington Post of July 2, the question is asked. This independant British newspaper has managed to collect recently the most spectacular scoops. The lates is the publication of first hand informations on Prism, the secret system engineered by the Americans to collect e-mails and telephone calls from all over the world.
If the circulation of the paper version of the Guardian is lagging at 150000 copies, the website is a tremendous success. It raises to 41 millions unique visitors per month, the largest information site in English.
And yet, the finance of the newspaper goes deep in the red. In fact it loses about 1 million pounds a week. The future of the Guardian which belongs to a private foundation is threatened by what is turning into a permanent deficit.
The solution seems obvious to many observers: Why is the group so reluctant to accept a paywall and follow the exemple of its main competitor, the New York Times? Of course, its audience would go down but if you consider the scope and the quality of the information it provides, many people, all over the world, would be willing to pay. With 1 million subscribers paying 150 euros a year, the Guardian would be eminently profitable and could finance an enlarged staff.
As we look at the evolution of the media on the web, it appears that gratuity is a thing of the past.Lets hope that the Guardian will follow the major newspapers of the world.