The New York Times has a story about newspapers evaluating whether or not to charge for their online content. It really becomes a game of chicken between the papers. If just one or a few papers start charging, everyone will head on over to the ones that are still free and it won't benefit those charging much. The fact that the Wall Street Journal can charge $79.00 for online subscriptions says more about the WSJ reader base than it does about the viability of charging for other papers. I can't imagine paying for any individual paper, but I suppose that if all the papers were to start charging, I might think about it. Perhaps I'd pay for a one-time subscription to a group of newspapers. The New York Times would not be on my lest.
Charging for online reading would surely put a crimp in political blogging since so much of what we do feeds off of stories in the press. We have to hope that the online ads start working for everyone.
I can just picture a time when I explain to my grandchildren about the glorious era when you could read almost any paper in the world for free.