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News paywalls are bad for society, says BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti

Venerable news-gathering institutions such as the New York Times and Washington Post are betting their future on getting people to pay for quality journalism, with some success. But at the D.Live conference presented by the Wall Street Journal—another fan of paywalls—BuzzFeed’sJonah Peretti says that he worries about expecting readers to pay for news, even if it’s a viable business.

The subscription model does not support informing a broad audience,” said Peretti, whose own media operations monetizes itself through advertising and sponsorships and has a strategy of being omnipresent rather than walling itself off. “It’s a huge issue for society and democracy.” Google and Facebook capture a giant percentage of available online advertising revenue, he added, but they don’t “pay for the reporting, the fact-checking, the more intensive investigations.”

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