News You Could Do Without

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
journalism, paywall

Will Journalists Bail On Newspapers That Put Up A Paywall?

from the they-might... dept

It's no secret that we think newspaper paywalls are an incredibly bad strategic move for most newspapers for a variety of reasons -- but now perhaps we can add one more to the list. Romenesko quotes Nick Denton pointing out that many star journalists hate the idea of their content appearing behind a paywall, because it takes away much of their audience -- and they want that audience. It's an interesting point -- though, we've certainly seen plenty of journalists clamoring for a paywall, assuming (incorrectly) that it would somehow help the newspapers make more money. Perhaps the point is that the good journalists know a paywall is a bad idea -- meaning that putting one up is likely to drive those journalists to other newspapers, giving people even less of a reason to pay for the locked up content online.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    DJ, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 2:10pm


    Maybe that way we'd actually have a news source full of good journalists.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    It isn't about journalists in general, but rather about the very small percentage who think that their "brand" of personality is bigger than the stories they cover.

    They can go off and run a blog and see how few people care.

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

  3. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 2:15pm


    I disagree - it's that they WANT their personal brand to be more valuable, and they achieve that by having their stories spread freely around the internet until their name begins to become familiar to people (or that's what they hope, anyway)

    Is that so crazy? Maybe you haven't noticed, but plenty of journalists HAVE built massive careers based on their personal "brand".

    Unfortunately they also tend to lose their integrity and forget the skills that made them popular as they gain fame/notoriety, but that's another story...

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

  4. identicon
    thornintheside, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 2:36pm

    Compare your local news site

    I was just browsing the sites of my two local newspapers, Toronto Sun and Toronto Star. The Sun has very little in terms of content, while the Star pretty much has the entire paper online. Guess which one I go to "all the time" and which one I barely read. I believe that when some newspapers move to a pay model, traffic will go to the news sites that are "free" and shortly thereafter you will see the pay model disappear.

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

  5. identicon
    Alex Kasperavicius, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 4:14pm

    I'm willing to pay for good writing and research.

    Unfortunately, "free" also means "cheap." If one actually likes advertising supported puff-pieces on celebrities, endless "gee whiz" stories on funny cats, or constant, pointless re-hashing of the latest story of the hour—great. I don't.

    I, for one, am getting sick of hunting around for decent , well researched writing. Google newsfeeds links to crap more often than not. I don't know who to trust anymore and would be more than willing to subscribe to a paper that I would get every day online.

    Only a few papers are marketing this and they are considered odd. Why?

    I wish more papers would start offering it. They are all just drying up—trying to stay advertising supported. It's not going to work.

    - AK

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

  6. identicon
    1DandyTroll, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    Yes understanding the import of the audience

    is really a hard nut to crack for Murdochians.

    Do get me wrong, I firmly believe in the hamster mentality: get everything, give nothing.

    And for those who still don't get it, here's the dramatized theatrical version: Mine? Mine, mine, mine! Mineminemine ...

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

  7. identicon
    Kevin, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:24pm

    Howard Stern

    I guess the big star journalists learned the lesson after the Howard Stern show moved behind a paywall. In terms of actual popularity, he's probably just a minor fraction of what he was. Sure, he got his huge payday out of it, but I'm sure most journalists realize that they're not going to earn significant amounts behind their newspapers' paywalls, and so they have a strong desire to keep making money during their career instead of killing it for a quick buck.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 12:20am

    I know I will

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

  9. icon
    minijedimaster (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    Re: I'm willing to pay for good writing and research.

    And how many subscriptions that you have to cancel due to a "cheap" product will it take before you admit you didn't have a clue as to what you were talking about here?

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

  10. identicon
    ken from illinois, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 9:14am

    pay for news? only if it's marked fiction.

    Newspapers are dying because at least half of what you read is biased, incomplete, innuendo, and full of errors. And you don't know what half! My kids were taught in grade school to never cite a news source to support a fact - as adults they don't have a newspaper subscription! Even my local library has the newspaper archive across the aisle from the Harry Potter books - yup, the archive is in "fiction".

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

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