I know people who will not read The Times, The Sun or The Sunday Times – or indeed any other publication they believe is owned or influenced by the tentacles of the business empire of Rupert Murdoch – simply because they are owned by Mr Murdoch.
Separately, most days I buy The Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail as physical newspapers and also (before the newspaper shop opens) visit the websites of The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
I never read The Times online. This is not because of any antipathy towards Rupert Murdoch – I’m neutral upon the subject of him and his business empire – but because The Times charges people to access its website. For me, it’s a matter of principle.
I don’t see why I should pay twice to read The Times.
My relationship with the Daily Mail is strange. I know it’s a populist rag peddling a right-wing and/or Tory-supporting perspective, but I ‘take account of that’ when I read its contents – in other words, I disregard it. I read the Mail for two reasons. It has some good writers working for it and – on a daily basis – you can ‘get a view’ of the news and topics that are going to be public talking points in less than half an hour … which just about equates to the time it takes for an overland train to travel from my local station to Waterloo. Also I need to confess that I love keeping abreast of news, conjecture and celebrity gossip – which is just about all that the Mail consists of.
The Duke of Edinburgh once famously described the Daily Express as ‘a bloody awful newspaper’ and personally I’d apply the same description to The Independent. I flick through it online out of habit but rarely read its contents in depth.
I have a love/hate relationship with The Daily Telegraph. I buy a physical copy every day partly because I enjoy reading it alongside The Times, just to get their different perspectives on the world and specific events. I also love reading its obituaries and ‘Letters’ page.
That said, its website drives me crackers. It allows you some number of free visits per month (I do not know what that number is) before it begins flashing a box signalling “You have reached the limit of your free access of the website, please now sign up for your subscription”.
Again, as with The Times, since I buy The Daily Telegraph as a newspaper every day, I object on principle to being forced to pay a subscription in order to read it online (I’d be paying twice to read it).
The irony is that The Daily Telegraph seeks to impose its website subscription not by name or individual, but by whatever unique identification your computer has. It so happens that I go to visit my elderly parents regularly every week – and occasionally spend two or three days with them in one go – and I can access the Daily Telegraph website via their computer as often as I like when I’m there because, however many times that turns out to be, it is never enough to reach their computer’s ‘free access’ limit.
To my mind, the policy of The Daily Telegraph on this matter is counter-productive. Do they worry or care that – whenever I reach my monthly limit of reading articles on their website – I stop visiting it? And by doing so stop myself being exposed to their online advertisers’ messages and advertisements?
I know it’s all a product of people trying to make money, but (even from that perspective) wouldn’t it be better to let me access their website for free and thereby remain being exposed to their advertisers’ messages?
I’m bored and frustrated by the petty attitudes of The Daily Telegraph management.