I tend to agree with Gladwell here, free simply isn’t an option. To get quality you need paid professionals, just look at the lapses we’ve seen of late with people relying on Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, instead of checking a professionally vetted (and therefore costed) alternative.
As a society we became more successful when we let people specialise, but if a journalist doesn’t get paid for their work how can they dedicate themselves to it?
That’s not to say that some content may not become freely distributed, there are other revenue streams, such as advertising, be it overt or not, but do you really want to read something where a little voice in the back of you mind is questioning if they really think the new car/gadget/cosmetic is great or if they’re just saying that because they got a nice hand-out?
Long live the TV licence so we get a professional, unbiased news and entertainment service.