Heather Brooke claims The Guardian’s digital-first and free approach is ‘unsustainable’

By Hamish Mackay |

May 30, 2012 | 2 min read

Heather Brooke, the freedom of information campaigner who played a major part in uncovering the British MPs' expenses scandal, has expressed concerns about The Guardian's strategy of being digital-first and free.

The author of ‘The Revolution Will Be Digitised’, in a speech which has been widely publicised in the UK, told an audience in Sydney: "It's an unsustainable model to give away news for free - because news is not free it's expensive.

"I'm very much against what The Guardian is doing and the reason I say that is because originally I was probably a fan, but now I just see it as a fail.

"It's expensive both in terms of resources of the journalist's time and also legal risk, getting sued” , pointing out: "The Guardian is haemorrhaging cash at a colossal rate".

Brooke’s comments, initially reported in The Independent newspaper, come in tandem with an article on The Guardian's financial problems in GQ magazine.

The GQ piece, headlined: ‘Could the newspaper that broke hacking scandal be the next to close?’, features editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger defending the paper's loss-making approach, underwritten by the Scott Trust, claiming:"We're not a pampered trustafarian.”

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Reporting on Brooke’s speech, Press Gazette observes that two years after The Times and Sunday Times went behind paywalls they now claim to have a combined total of 256,740 digital subscribers.


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