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Should online publishers charge for their content?


The main stream.

With the WSJ online edition, you don’t need a subscription to read the articles. All you have to do is highlight the title of the article you want to read, paste it into a google search, and “wha-la,” free article. Unless the NYT pulls off of google (unlikely), you’ll still have free access to the NYT online…you’ll just have to work a little bit harder to read it.

or this

It’s not the economy that’s causing the drop in circulation revenue. It’s the lack of quality and one-sidedness of the content.

or how about this response which had us gaffing on our tea cups;

Information may be free, but journalism isn’t, and that’s what we need. Information is like a bag of coffee beans sitting on your counter….nice, but without being filtered and processed, it isn’t of much practical use.

There is a tremendous need for unbiased and reliable journalism, one that is going to grow, not shrink. We live in a world in which everyone can PRETEND to be a reporter, but they are really not. We need real reporters, not faux ones.

In all the article to date has produced 150 comments and rebukes. Our feeling is if you can get away with charging for the content try but one should remember that it is a hard sale in a digital world where the purpose of digital information is that it is for free and widely accessible in the first place. No amount of pretense and chest thumping can defy the dynamics of the current information age.

Ultimately it is incumbent as it is for us to carve out a following and find creative ways to accrue revenues with that following beyond advertising dollars when they hopefully one day return. Clever and nimble media entities will eventually find their way and the audiences by osmosis will find their way to them as the need to be informed, entertained and lets hope in our personal stance be inspired and provoked. In the end this whole discussion may become mute as we all one day begin to one day wake up with micro chips implanted in our brains telling us the coming and goings of the world. At the rate we’ll want to become chip manufacturers or the doctors that implant them in order to eke out a living but in the very near term as long as ideas and thoughts are free to be expressed and we live in a wide consuming culture then the old expression holds- “cream always rises to the top.” Best of luck New York Times…



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