Wednesday, August 4, 2021

A la carte Journalism

In an age of struggle for print journalism, newspapers are trying to survive by implementing pay walls to their content -- and they’re doing it all wrong. That’s not surprising for an industry tasked with covering the news while somehow missing how drastically the rise of online advertising was going to subvert their revenue streams.

The problem with paywalls is the all or nothing access points. As a resident of Denver, I subscribe yearly to the Denver Post, The Villager, and occasionally 5280 Magazine where I receive the bulk of my news. However, I am a regular reader of numerous national and international news sources like the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian.

Sometimes a friends posts or emails an article I would like to read, such as a column from Jason Gay of the WSJ. And while I really want to read the article and might even be willing to pay for it, that doesn’t mean I want or need a $200 yearly subscription to a publication that I don’t read daily. That said, I’d be happy to pay $.50 - $2.00 for articles, or for a package of 10. The Guardian has a model that I like and respect for its flexibility and concept of individual contributions. Once or twice a year, I will send ten or twenty dollars to The Guardian because I value the content I read there.

Many bloggers and freelance sites offer that voluntary payment as a way of offsetting the costs of production -- Wikipedia and Maria Popova’s Brainpickings are a couple of good examples of the patronage concept. Additionally, currently news magazines and newspapers should be developing apps and web delivery software that inhibits media sites like Facebook from connecting with their content without delivery some sort of ad revenue sharing agreement

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