News International and Rupert Murdoch are often the star attractions in arse-kicking competitions organised by rival media. This is partly because NI is very big and successful and, I suspect, because the rest of the UK media is still sore that had it not been for Murdoch’s big cojones in dealing with the print unions, they would have been annihilated.
So when NI announced that it was no longer going to allow readers free online access to its journalism, the effect was not dissimilar to waving large courgettes at a vegetarian convention.
The pundits went mad with delight at the prospect that Murdoch was going to get his just deserts etc etc etc. The glee, if bottled, could have kept every Yorkshire hill farmer happy for over a year.
So imagine the consternation in the watering holes of Canary Wharf et al when the figures announced by NI claim that around 100,000 people have paid to access the Times online. This clearly indicates that stories produced by trained and professional journalists are still appreciated by a discerning public. And long may that continue.