And They Wonder Why People Don't Like Newspapers Anymore?

from the stop-the-presses,-no-really dept

If you wanted to point out all the things newspapers have gotten wrong in the age of the internet, you wouldn't have to look too far. Newspapers have pretty much across the board, been bereft of good ideas on how to compete, whether it's in the stories they cover and how they cover them, or in the classifieds. But the online edition of today's Austin American-Statesman business section takes the cake in ineptitude: republishing ten stories that range from a few months to a few years old, noting that they are in fact being republished, but never explaining why. Perhaps it's a ploy to drive print edition sales -- I was assuming something was missing, so I went and picked up a printed copy. In the four-page section (which featured all wire stories -- guess somebody didn't want to work Sunday night), none of the old stories appear, so of course there's no mention of why they've shown up online. Is reprinting old stories just the latest cost-cutting exercise? Or is putting them up without any context or explanation another misguided attempt to make use of the web? Given the Statesman's fascination with stupid registration schemes and pop-unders and other annoying ad formats, I'll bet on the latter. Oh, and by the way, you'll of course need BugMeNot to read those articles, and they'll go behind a paywall (again) in a week.

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  • icon
    mmrtnt (profile), 17 Apr 2006 @ 4:54pm

    Bug Me Not, Not

    I don't use BugMeNot. When I hit a registration link for an online news source, I find the "contact us" link and I leave this comment:

    "I don't read news I have to register for. If you want to increase traffic, remove your registration.

    "Sincerely MjM"


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2006 @ 5:23pm

    Sounds useless

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2006 @ 5:25pm

    ...indeed it does.

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  • identicon
    Bill McNeil, 17 Apr 2006 @ 6:13pm


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  • identicon
    Mark Kitchen, 17 Apr 2006 @ 8:12pm

    Austin Resident Comment

    Perhaps adding fodder to the post - I live in Austin and rarely if ever use the services of the local Print Media. I satisfy my net/world news cravings from GoogleNews (insert flame here), and local tidbits from our VAR News8 channel for Time Warner customers.

    I fore one am suprised by this submission/article, as Austin has much to boast and report. e.g. Samsung just announced they have chosen Austin for a 2nd plant.

    c'est la vie

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  • identicon
    BigEd, 17 Apr 2006 @ 9:05pm

    I try to avoid any news page that requires registration. But if I really want to view they story then I just type in a false address (no big deal). All they end up doing is using your email for advertising with junk mail. It's pretty useless if all they have is junk email addresses. BigEd (used to work for a newspaper - In Circulation)

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  • identicon
    Ponder, 18 Apr 2006 @ 1:55am

    If news is by subcription only, if its worth reading someone will tell you somewhere its free. If I need an article which I can find but not access, I know people who can, and oftern my school has already paid up for it. I have never paided for news, not even a paper. The advantage of the internet is that anyone can publish their news for free, which can then be accessed by others for free. Point is its all free.

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    • identicon
      Angie, 18 Apr 2006 @ 6:37am

      Re: it's all free

      Somebody, somewhere has to pay. Reporters like to eat, like everybody else, and somebody needs to be generating some money somewhere to pay for the news-gathering and reporting functions.

      I worry about newspapers being phased out because who's going to pay reporters to dig up the next big government scandal? I don't see bloggers putting down their coffee cups and getting in their 1980 VW to arrive at the White House, with no credentials, and grill the President on anything.

      In the end, nothing is really "free".

      Except my opininion, and that is worth every penny you paid.....

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      • identicon
        I'm full, 18 Apr 2006 @ 11:01am

        Re: Re: it's all free

        Run ads, use ad money to buy food. Problem solved.

        Like the other comment, if you try to hold on to OLD business models, then you deserve to STARVE. And that's the bottom line, end of story, no responses needed.

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  • identicon
    Juan Ri, 18 Apr 2006 @ 7:37am

    Google News

    Speaking of news..

    I have noticed lately that Google News is serving cloaked results..

    Want proof?

    Click here =opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&sa=N&tab=wn

    And then click on the WSJ story titled 'Out of the Telechasm'

    They made a promise to not cloak a couple of years ago.. It looks like it has now changed..? Is this old news?

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  • identicon
    Axe, 18 Apr 2006 @ 7:48am

    It's fun to watch...

    It's fun to watch archaic, monolithic business models take a proverbial dump all over them selves.

    Businesses that do not understand Internet culture deserve to lose money. It's a sign that they are behind the times and in a capitalistic society, that means certain death.

    Subscription content is as passé' as last years fashions. There are so many free services (like TechDirt) that offer up-to-date interactive content, that, I believe, you'll see a steady decline in businesses offering subscription content. Obviously this doesn't apply to niche markets.

    Finally, just a quick shot at Angie's comment;

    Reporters epitomized the term freelance in American culture and as long as I can remember they've been hungry (Which mostly applies to their drive).

    That means to me they understood the spirit and culture of free enterprise well before the Internet came into being and therefore have all the tools necessary to be successful using the Internet as a media platform.

    Those who don't make it were mediocre to begin with and have/had no business in the industry anyways.

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  • identicon
    Zac Echola, 28 Feb 2007 @ 6:35pm

    How to compete

    I make a few suggestions in this post here:

    Mostly I consider the general news model to be a poor business model.

    I don't think newspapers should try to compete through poor news decisions (a la britney spears on A1), I think they should compete through diversified news products.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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