Speaking at an event hosted by digital agency Albion, Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of The Guardian, outlined his vision of the role that journalists and newspapers will play in an internet-led future, and took another sideswipe at Murdoch’s “dubious” business model.
He said it was important for publishers to change their mindset from an “us versus them” approach, to place the focus on involvement instead of authority.
The editor-in-chief was also vociferous about the “open” model of the internet and the philosophy of “do what you do best and link to the rest”.
“If you are open, that means you want to be part of the way the web works rather than simply on the web,” he said.
“I think that leads you to think about the whole democratisation of the web, the whole way it works as a series of links and how all information on the web is now linked to all other information.”
He acknowledged that recognition of others work “goes against the instincts of journalists” but said it results in “better journalism”.
But Rusbridger warned it would be impossible for publishers to embrace these developments if content is withdrawn and placed behind paywalls.
He said: “If you believe the most important thing is to try and get direct return for your content and put a universal paywall around everything then you necessarily take yourself out of those first two roles…
“That’s why I think it is a dubious business model and just completely antithetical to the way everything is going, not just journalism.
Highlighting a discrepancy already within Murdoch’s portfolio, Rusbridger contrasted the democratic, inclusive approach of Harper Collins’ social networking site Bookarmy, with that of plans to restrict content of The Times.
“It seems to me when you look at those two models, you know which is going to win. It’s going to be the open one,” he said.