Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sign Me Up, New York Times. I'll Pay.

Next year, the New York Times will begin charging frequent users of its website. A certain number of stories every month will be free. After that, there will be a charge.

I don't want to pay for something I'm used to getting for free. But the alternative is even less appealing: further erosion of the quality of news-gathering.

Some years ago, when we first started to see warning signs for the newspaper industry, I wasn't too worried. People will always need information gatherers, so the market will always support information gatherers. But I wasn't thinking about the quality question.

There's big money out there for bloggers and pundits who riff off news stories gathered by AP and major newspapers. Because it's more cost effective to talk about the news without gathering it, the pool of news gatherers could shrink even further -- so far that quality and reliability could fall to unacceptable levels.

So sign me up, New York Times. I'm ready to pay.

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Joel said...

I'm feeling better than ever about the money I give to public radio.

June Casagrande said...

Funny you should say that. Right after I posted that yesterday, I thought that I really should -- um -- do more to support public radio. They definitely stand alone in terms of making quality news-gathering financially viable.

LL Blackwell said...

Totally! Maybe that's how our newspapers will end up, with a similar format. I think the NY Times is coming up with a good model, because then folks who just need something quick will get it, but those who really use it as a resource will be supporting it. Kind of like buying a newspaper at Starbucks or just reading what the other guy left behind, y'know?

June Casagrande said...

Yeah. I can see that.

I'm a little all over the map about it, because I sometimes see it as a newspaper employee and sometimes as a news consumer. But lately, my biggest concern is an an American. A rich diversity of original news sources is good for democracy. Inversely ...


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