Thursday, April 28, 2011

thinking about newspapers

so i've had a conversation from Easter pop into my head from time to time this week, and I think its interesting.

As you may know, the New York Times starting charging for online usage. Fine, I say. My sister was complaining about it. My immediate answer was, 1) How do you want them to make money, then? and 2) You can use my sign in (I'm a paper subscriber, I get unlimited online access - and she decline on a moral basis).

So here is this interesting conundrum. We seem to belive the news should be free. Why? That's a new thought, certainly new within the confines of the internet age. Newspapers were never free before the internet. They may have been damn close, but you still had to cough up that quarter. Why do we expect them to be free now?

If the Grey Lady's model works out, you can be assured our Washington Post will follow. I won't have an issue because I get the paper daily of the Post anyway. Yes, it gets recycled, but I belive in supporting newspapers. I like this model that acknowledges paper subscribers and doesn't make you pay twice.

I think I could strongly argue that in a free society, news should be abundant and freely available. And I believe it always will be, at your local library, just where it always was.

I apply the NPR approach to this issue. I would gladly drop a quarter, if I could, into my car radio each and every day to listen to NPR. I would gladly drop a quarter into my computer to read the Times and the Post and the Chronicle and the Globe and any other major paper. I donate to NPR as my payment, and I get the old paper versions of the Times and the Post dropped on my driveway. I'm paying for it, and I'm getting what I'm paying for, and more, I'd argue.

Do we then get into an oh-so-slippery slope about payment for content on the internet? Academic journals have been doing it for years..

What do you think?

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