You Get What You Pay For

In the wake of OK! magazine’s exclusive on Jamie Lynn Spears’ pregnancy, The New York Times writes about the growth of checkbook journalism–that is, paying sources for the rights to stories. 

It’s hard to believe that, with competitive pressures increasing across the industry, the trend won’t soon migrate from celebrity journalism to more "respectable" outlets, as it has already begun to do in Britain.  Right now the taboo against paying for a story is strong enough to keep most non-celebrity US publications from doing it, but for how long?  

And would such a development necessarily be a bad thing?