Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | January 24, 2014

Disturbances in the Force

Mimas moon

So, Ezra Klein is leaving the Washington Post. At the same time, the Volokh Conspiracy is moving to the Washington Post, and after a while will be mostly disappearing behind a paywall.

Klein (who is only 29) founded the Post‘s Wonkblog, so now the Post gets to see whether the Wonkblog can survive and thrive without Klein at the helm. At Slate, David Weigel reports that two Post staffers are also leaving with Klein. Ann Althouse wonders whether Klein has the same sort of following that Nate Silver had (my sense is No, but I easily could be wrong).

As for the Volokh Conspiracy move, Josh Blackman has a good post discussing how writing under someone else’s brand can affect a writer’s style in multiple small ways — although Prof. Volokh seeks to reassure his readers that he and his fellow Conspirators will “retain full editorial control” over what they write — “And this full editorial control will be made easy by the facts that we have (1) day jobs, (2) continued ownership of our trademark and the domain, and (3) plenty of happy experience blogging on our own, should the need arise to return to that.”

After six months, the blog will be behind a paywall except for those with .edu and .gov email addresses. Those without academic or government accounts will get 10 free pageviews per month.

Like Scott Greenfield, I suspect that the paywall and other aspects of the move will mean serious changes in the comments on the Volokh posts.

Beyond that, this is just another valuable piece of the internet disappearing behind a paywall. Can’t say I like that trend.

See also posts by Prof. Althouse and Prof. Bainbridge, as well has this piece at Breibart. And Gerard Magliocca at Concurring Opinions.

Meanwhile, Prof. Althouse also notes that the Washington Post “has decided to start doing headlines in the Upworthy/Buzzfeed form.”

And Scott Lemieux would like to advertise the fact that Lawyers, Guns & Money is available to any newspaper or media conglomorate looking to buy up an academic group blog.

Image Credit: Saturn’s moon Mimas, imaged by the Cassini probe on August 1, 2005, from a distance of approximately 189,410 km. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


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