The rise of citizen journalism and social networks have created a false economy for traditional news media. Information produced for several years is now the centre of a stoush between tech giants Facebook and Google and the Australian government over payment for the use of news content. However, some don't realise the cost and effort put into sourcing and creating quality news. There are plenty who are happy to support this by shelling out a few bucks for a newspaper or magazine or pay a subscription to access a news site. This and advertising make up the revenue that pays the journalists, designers, administration and management that are all necessary to produce it. Social media now provides a platform for anyone to publish their views, often unchecked and at no cost, and redistributes second-hand news that's been gathered by publishers that have to pay people and outgoings to produce it. So, it begs the question. Should news be free? If you want unfettered, unsubstantiated and sometimes unreal information then you're spoilt for choice. You can also access some of the world's best journalism through free-to-air commercial TV and the national broadcaster, the ABC, for nix. The reality is it costs money to create reliable news content to balance the fake news that proliferates social media platforms - and those redistributing it should help. There doesn't seem to be a problem for music streaming services paying artists through their platforms (although the model is contentious), so why should news be any different?