Print

Will the Last Newspaper Reader Please Turn the Lights Out?

|

Faced with tanking (and aging) readerships, along with unprecedented competition from people selling content for free, a group of nearly two dozen embattled U.S. newspaper execs have gathered this week in Chicago to do exactly what you'd expect from them: Try and figure out a way to collectively start charging money for online content. Nice knowing ya, newsprint!

NEXT: Gutting D.C. School Vouchers After They Work As Predicted

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. to do exactly what you’d expect from them: Try and figure out a way to collectively start charging money for online content.

    Is that instead of, or in addition to, sticking their hands in my pocket (with the assistance of the feds)?

  2. Have they ever heard of advertizing? You know, like banner ads?

  3. Meanwhile I still pay for a print copy of Reason even though the content is available (albeit delayed) online. Why? I like to read on the go.

  4. “Have they ever heard of advertising? You know, like banner ads?”

    They were late to that game.

  5. They are not even fit for mullet wrapping.

  6. Try and figure out a way to collectively start charging money for online content.

    Oh, is that all? I was bracing myself to read something more like: Try and figure out a way to convince the government to steal money from citizens and give it to newspapers. Or is that still on the table?

  7. ==== InterracialChats.Com ==== The wonderful place where you can mingle with hot singles who are looking to date outside their race. Find your partner here whether they reside within your own neighborhood or abroad.

  8. If only there was a chat site for interracial cougars.

  9. Is there a dating site for young white lesbian chicks that allows old hairy men to watch for free?

  10. “Try and figure out a way to collectively start charging money for online content”.

    Noooo? Don’t tell me they, the ethical ones, are doing collusion? Isn’t that forbidden by the anti-trust law? I’m shocked.

  11. You know, like banner ads?

    You mean like that empty space at the top of this page?

  12. FWIW, I prefer to read a print copy of a newspaper. Maybe when everybody has Kindles that will change.

  13. I was just reading a recycled version of the “Mexican Drug Lords Buy Lethal Scary Firearms In HOUSTON!!” story a little while ago. It made me wonder if BATF was paying Reuters to run it.

    There’s a business opportunity. They could start charging to print government propaganda. Instead of doing it gratis.

  14. Try and figure out a way to collectively start charging money for online content.

    That would be a trust-like activity, would it not?

  15. ==== InterracialChats.Com ==== The wonderful place where you can mingle with hot singles who are looking to date outside their race.

    Now there’s a way for the dead tree media to reverse flagging interest.

  16. “That would be a trust-like activity, would it not?”

    Just like in copyright law, all you have to do is set up a government panel to decide how much newspapers get paid. The industry controls the board and keeps the appearance of not colluding.

  17. Oh, is that all? I was bracing myself to read something more like: Try and figure out a way to convince the government to steal money from citizens and give it to newspapers. Or is that still on the table?

    Gibbs specifically said that wasn’t going to happen. Of course you can decide whether you believe him on that, but I think it’s a safe bet that that idea is dead.

  18. Actually, I’d like to see widespread adoption of a good micropayments system, but it would have to be nearly transparent, secure, and very micro: pennies or fractions of pennies per transaction. Micro enough that people don’t mind paying it. If we had such a system, far more bloggers and other individuals could support themselves by their online work.

    But I doubt the newspapers are patient enough to start something so penny-ante and count on it growing. They’ll each want an $X subscription, and wonder why too few people pay.

  19. Working together, they should be able to give an enticing volume discount to the coveted buggy whip advertising dollar.

  20. They ought to figure out how to increase circulation.

    Maybe giving the newspaper away for free rather than charging for it is a start. When I take the bus, I find it hard to justify spending 75 cents when all I really want is a couple of box scores.

    The basic problem with most newspapers’ on-line presentation is that all the headlines in that days’ paper are visible at a glance. When you see that the paper only has 15 news stories in it, and none of them are interesting, you realize very quickly that the paper is usually waste of time and money. You could figure that out after buying the hardcopy, too, but the discovery of that fact is much slower that way.

  21. please newspapers, charge more for content! please try it, please please please. No I got an idea, lie to you customers more often or ignore important stories like Major General Taguba declaring that our government rapes and tortures children repeatedly.

  22. Why have newspapers? Between DRUDGE, GOOGLE NEWS, RENSE, and YAHOO NEWS, I can get much more than the L.A. TIMES can provide, especially with their mediocre editorial page.

    Best way to charge on line, is to let amateur journalists post content. Kind of like vanity press publishing on a small scale

  23. Newspapers, like all media outlets are aggregators of audiences which they in turn sell for profit to advertisers. As a member of that audience I receive no compensation. The least they could do is provide free content sufficient to compensate me for having been pimped to every seller whose demo I fit.

  24. You mean like that empty space at the top of this page?

    Hey, I’m stuck at work with suck-ass Internet Exploder.

  25. ignore important stories like Major General Taguba declaring that our government rapes and tortures children repeatedly.

    That would be the guy appointed by the Army to lead the initial investigation at Abu Ghraib, whose report was widely quoted from when it was leaked/released?

  26. The answer to newspaper woes is obvious: go the cable company rout. Charge the ISPs for allowing access to their customers.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.