Why the WSJ's micro payment plan won't work

Frustrated by plunging advertising and circulation revenue, newspapers are desperate to find new business models. But The Wall Street Journal'splan to launch a "sophisticated micro-payments service" to sell access to individual articles seems poorly thought out.

If the Journal were the only financial news website owned by News Corp. (NWS), then the micropayment model might work. But the sister websites of the Journal range from MarketWatch, geared toward individual investors, to D All Things Digital, which features what it calls "news, analysis and opinion about the digital revolution." The sites, including Barron's, all have their individual strengths and weaknesses and feed off one another.