Charging for content online: Some remedial math

The conventional wisdom on whether and how newspapers ought to charge for their online content is changing so rapidly, some people are having trouble keeping up. One of those people is Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, who Monday repeated one of the favored fallacies of the information-must-be-free crowd: that publications that try to squeeze some cash out of readers, however delicately, risk losing their audiences.

Kurtz writes:

Unless the movement becomes a stampede, pay-wall sites may see traffic nosedive as the information-wants-to-be-free crowd heads for the exits. At that point, we will know whether enough people are willing to pay something, anything, for decent reporting.