It's even worse than it appears..
Tuesday October 4, 2022; 9:04 AM EDT
  • If there were a rational system for online news, imho, how would it work? I know news orgs don't think this way, but what if they did?#
    • A news org would put its local news stories behind a paywall, accessible via subscription only. #
    • Stories that are reprints of wire service stories could also be behind the paywall if they want, but I wonder what's the point. The same exact text is available from lots of other sources, often by local TV stations -- but they are thorougly saturated with horrific advertising. Want to do something original? Put these outside the paywall and get a reputation for being a "good" place to go for wire service stories.#
    • The tricky stuff are the stories that people from outside your area would want to read. For example, I live near NYC, these would include stories from the Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles local news orgs. For these, I suggest they could be behind your paywall too, if you want, but you should also make them available through a respected distributor, maybe a service run by one of the largest news orgs or wire services. They would charge on a per-read basis, to people who had registered a credit card with the distributor. The revenue would be shared with the distributor of course. Not sure what the price would be, you could try out a variety of prices and see which prices maximize revenue. This would be found money. Most people who live near New York are not going to subscribe to the big Atlanta news org.#
    • The final category are stories that are so important that you want to make sure everyone can read them without limit. At the height of the Covid pandemic some news orgs were putting their stories on the virus outside the paywall and they didn't count against your monthly limit. Of course this raises the question of why do you publish any stories that wouldn't be in this category? Isn't everything you publish vital? (Obviously not, but that's not something many news orgs would probably want to admit.)#
  • What got me thinking about this is that I recently discovered a New Jersey news org that does a good job of covering the Mets. They are a local team for New Jersey too. What a kick esp since the NYT which I do subscribe to has, for some reason, stopped covering the Mets. I wonder why. Anyway, to my chagrin that was short-lived. I guess they gave me a cookie and were counting the number of articles I was seeing, and now I can't read them any longer. There basically is no journalism I can read about the team, even though they are having an incredible year, and there's a lot to say about them and I am subscribed to one of the local news orgs. As a reader as far as I can tell I'm doing everything I'm supposed to, yet I can't read most of the stories I want to, and not just about the Mets, about everything.#
  • I have found some bloggers that are filling the gap, a little. But we have a long way to go. We are already living in the age of news blackouts for a lot of what we're interested in, and when an important issue comes up, it's just another chance for news orgs outside our local area to remind us that we can't read their stories unless we subscribe, which is not possible, economically. #
  • BTW, this blog has no paywall, it's free to read for everyone, and there are a number of things I write about that are as good as anything you'll read by a pro.#

Last update: Tuesday October 4, 2022; 7:15 PM EDT.

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