The NYTimes says it is going to start charging for its online contect beginning “early” 2011. The story is here.
About time, says I, but they should try to find a way to have the Washington Post, the LA Times, and most every other newspaper in the country that is currently giving it away do so at the same time.
Simply put: I can’t work for free. I have to buy food. I have to pay for housing. So does everyone else here.
Actually, the Standard-Examiner already does this. Our web site is in two parts — a free site and the digital edition site. Some content is only on the digital site, which you can only access if you pay a subscription fee, either to the web site or by buying the physical newspaper.
I might note that my column is only available on the pay site. Am I worth it? I like to think so.
The problem is, news sites that accumulate news and put it out for all the world, such as Huffington Post and lord knows how many others, don’t pay us when they take our news. They just take our stuff. Some may subscribe to the Associated Press, and pick us up there, but others just take it, or link to it, and there we are, hoping we can bring in enough revenue from web site ads to pay the nut.
Do we? I dunno. They don’t tell me those kinds of numbers. My guess would be that the web site is a thriving but smaller part of our whole revenue stream. I do know that in cities where newspapers tried to go web site only after the paper edition failed — Denver and Seattle — they had to downsize very, very drastically and still failed. Detroit has gone web-only several days of the week, and I have no idea how that’s working.
People want it for free.
But if you don’t pay, as I said, newspapers can’t hire folk like me to go out and gather that news. It’s that simple. In a way it would be ironic if Huffington Post et al went bust because, having driven all of us paid journalists out of business, they suddenly had no news to post.
Yeah, I know, bloggers will fill in the gap. Bloggers may hang around the city council and post stuff, but they aren’t journalists. Believe it or not, a little bit of training does make a difference.
Being paid also makes you work a lot harder at the job. May I note that it was not a blogger who discovered the horrible abuses of wounded veterans in Walter Reed Army Hospital, it was a Washington Post staff reporter? She spent a year working on the story. Would a blogger, who is not paid, put in that kind of time?
It’s a tough time. We’re all struggling to stay alive. Giving our product away isn’t the way to do it. And here you are, reading this for free.
One is tempted to insert here “You get what you pay for,” but in my case I do get paid, and if you want to see what I get paid to do, buy a paper or check out the digital edition.