Paying for News ?

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    Feb 05, 2012 7:55 PM GMT
    Ever since the world wide web took off, news organizations have been trying to figure out how to get payed for the content they post. With increasing desperation. I've always thought that I wouldn't mind paying the same rate (or a bit less) than for a regular print newspaper, for a good quality news source. But every time one of them instituted a subscription web site, they were asking some ludicrous amount, like $30 a month, 1990 dollars. WTF? No way. No wonder they always fail.

    Anyway, I usually go to the free Yahoo! News, which is mostly aggregated, not produced, as my primary source. But it's a little too algorithm- and mob-driven. More recently, I've been convinced to pay for a couple of news sources. The New York Times, for example, made a fairly compelling case that they need revenue to stay in business, and finally offered a reasonable subscription fee.

    However, as far as I can see there is absolutely no difference between the "free" content and the "paid" content. Whether I "log in" or not, I see all of the same stories. The same goes for The Economist (on trial). I'm feeling a bit duped here. Are they just too scared of losing readers to turn on the fire wall? Don't they realize that duplicity will piss-off otherwise loyal customers? To me, it seems like a no-brainer. Make the subscriptions extremely cheap and easy to sign on for and get the masses on board. This idea of charging more per subscription but not providing anything in return is going to be another failure. Sure, it's trivial in comparison to what I pay for professional journals, but I probably won't keep paying.

    Is anybody paying for "general news" these days? What do you get for it?
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    Feb 05, 2012 8:20 PM GMT
    I bought a NY Times subscription because I realized I couldn't live without it. They use cookies on your browser, and if you exceed a certain number of articles per month, suddenly the articles start getting truncated. (Although there are exceptions, which is why you may have not noticed a difference -- the first section is always free, and any links that a friend has sent you, for instance on facebook or twitter.)

    I read wayy many of the articles in the back sections and in the opinion section, and I really enjoy reading the comments of NY Times readers, so its the one online newspaper subscription I pay for. I really do use it, and I print and save a lot of articles for my files too.

    I think it's ridiculous when the Tuscaloosa Post Gazette Tribune Sun tries to charge, especially if its an article that got linked from Google News. There's one or two papers that do that. The others seem to be remaining free.

    Other than Comcast and the NYT, the only other things I pay for online is Netflix. I had a Spotify subscription for a while, but I decided I could tolerate the ads. On occasion (especially if I'm traveling and want to meet some new guys) I'll restart my MH subscription, but I try do do without it for stretches of time. So my grand total is $40 for Comcast, $16 for Netflix, and $15 for the Times.... about $70 altogether.
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    Feb 05, 2012 8:27 PM GMT
    Also, as an aggregator, I like Google News. It doesn't seem too slanted, although stories move fast and the front page changes many times per day. I also like to browse the front page of my local paper and the daily from my state capitol, in case there's something that Google News missed. The NY Times "most emailed" or "most viewed" links also help fill in any gaps of stories that I should have seen but didn't. And my Facebook and Twitter friends and organizations I follow, supply me with all the progressive, gay, or subject-specific news I could ever want.

    All-in-all, I can get a better, more personalized collection of news by spending an hour on the internet, versus watching an hour of CNN, watching the 11:00 local news, or buying a daily print edition.

    I get more news that matters to me and I don't have to deal with commercials, ads, and so on.
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    Feb 05, 2012 8:52 PM GMT
    I dunno. Before I posted this, I spent about an hour clicking on stories all over the NYT and Economist web sites without logging in. I couldn't find anything to which I was denied access. Also, I logged in to both afterwards and didn't find any "extra" content.

    The only oddity I've noticed is in the email contents. I've gotten a daily email from the NYT for a dozen years or more, with a list of the main stories, summaries, and links to take you to the full story in a browser. If you click on the "link" symbol, it asks you to log in. However, if you just click on the headline, it takes you right to the story.

    Hmm... cookie counting... seems a bit primitive but it might be so. I clear out cookies almost every day, so I guess that wouldn't work on me.

    As far as comparing written to TV news... icon_rolleyes.gif An entire hour-long TV news show has barely any more actual content than this post. If it were written, you could get through it in one or two minutes.
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    Feb 05, 2012 9:04 PM GMT
    I like to read a couple of newspaper websites omy way to work in the morning, and recently one of them decided to make it pay per view content (Rupert Murdoch trying to squeeze more money out of people). I considered paying the subscription but it was just too much, considering for that paper I only read one section which is relevant to my work. Anyway, I found out that if I put an article's headline into Google I can read the article for free icon_smile.gif
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    Feb 05, 2012 9:23 PM GMT
    I pay a monthly subscription of £8 ($12) per month for The (London) Times. It is a good site and you can read the papers (and supplements) online exactly as they appear in the daily hard copy version. Buying the hard copy version would cost £32 [$48] per month. If it were any more than £8 pcm, I would probably cancel it, as there are other 'quality' newspapers (The Independent, The Telegraph or The Guardian) online for free. That said, all the other papers are watching the Times subscription experiment very closely and they will probably follow with charges of their own. Incidentally, the non-payment version of The Times gives you access to the paper's front page headlines only.
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    Feb 05, 2012 9:27 PM GMT
    Why pay for news when you can get it free on forums?
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    Feb 05, 2012 9:33 PM GMT
    Drudge Report.

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  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Feb 05, 2012 9:47 PM GMT
    i pay for the new yorker
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    Feb 05, 2012 10:06 PM GMT
    TheOnion tries to make me pay to view their site because I live outside the US. Fuck you, Onion!
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    Feb 06, 2012 1:11 AM GMT
    You can get full access to the NYT site if you use wifi at Starbucks.
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    Feb 06, 2012 2:59 AM GMT
    mindgarden said...However, as far as I can see there is absolutely no difference between the "free" content and the "paid" content....


    At my last employer, an international publishing firm, there are currently 0 jobs advertised in editorial in my old division. When I first worked there more than 20 years ago, they didn't even have a computer for me when I first got there, we had about 600 editorial positions. During a major downsizing which I survived about 10-13 years ago, my local area lost about 70% of its staff. Though some of those jobs were centralized, many have since been eliminated as the work got subbed out to independents. The jobs currently advertised are all in either marketing or sales. The last I visited a regional office there were more empty desks than occupied ones.

    In the entire publishing company, nationwide, there are about 250 jobs advertised. of those, 36 are editorial positions, yet another 70 are in sales & marketing, & 52 in technology. In Europe, 11% of the openings are in editorial, in Asia 8% of the positions offered are editorial.

    At a large, very well known publishing company where a friend works there are just under 40 jobs available. Only 1 of them is editorial. That's just 2.5% of the jobs of a publishing house is actually in editorial.

    At McClatchy, which bought a company which owned numerous newspapers, one of which is where I worked in the 80s when we first began computerizing, they are advertising 33 jobs currently in the USA. Of the 20 openings in newspapers only 3 are editorial positions.

    The NYTimes currently has 69 career opportunities. 14 of those are editorial positions.

    At the Associated Press there are 15 jobs being advertised: 6 in editorial; 6 in sales/marketing; 2 in technology.

    UPI has all of one job opening. It is for a photographer.

    Got the picture?
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    Feb 06, 2012 3:48 AM GMT
    I had to just let my NYT and New yorker subscription lapse because my hours got cut. icon_cry.gif Aggregator sites are vultures. I don't like reading that shit.