Setting us up for the big fall?

Or “The first ten are free.”

A Newspaper Pay Wall Goes Up — and So Do Visitor Numbers — “Visitors can read 10 “local” articles per month free-of-charge, but after that, they need to pay up.

First they get us hooked, then they take it away? There’s a name for people like that.

 

 

Did ya miss me?

Apologies to anyone who’s been following The Worried Journalist. (If you had actually been following me, you’d know what I’ve been up to).

Suffice it to say, the last few — what has it been, weeks? Months? — have been tense and interesting (like the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”) Things at work are basically status quo: management keeps saying how dire the situation is; a few people have left and heir jobs have been absorbed and distributed among the remaining staffers. I, myself, am now pulling triple duty, but how can I complain? At least I have a job. For how much longer, no one can say. Who knows, I might end up like Mark Zuckerman.

Who dat, you might ask?

Zuckerman used to be the Nationals beat writer for the Washington Times before the publication decided to jettison its sports department. So while he’s waiting for another job, he’s taken matters into his own hands, successfully, it seems.

From Zuckerman’s Feb 8 post on NatsInsider.com:

This site, though, isn’t a money-maker. I’m doing this on my own, receiving no income other than a few pennies each time you click on an ad.

So I need your help to make this happen. At the top of this post, you saw a link with instructions on how to make a donation. I’ve set up a system with PayPal, a safe and reliable method that allows you to pay by credit card with confidence. You are free to donate as little or as much as you’d like.

If you choose not to participate, no worries. You’ll still have access to my full coverage from Florida. But if you do participate, I’m going to return the favor by offering you extra, exclusive coverage all spring.

Here’s what you’ll get, based on your donation level:

$20 — Exclusive daily audio file of Jim Riggleman’s morning or postgame media session.

$40 — Exclusive daily audio file of Jim Riggleman’s morning or postgame media session, plus another daily audio file of an interview with a Nats player, coach or front-office member.

$60 — Exclusive daily audio file of Jim Riggleman’s morning or postgame media session; plus another daily audio file of an interview with a Nats player, coach or front-office member; plus the opportunity to submit a question to be asked of Riggleman or a prominent player during a spring training interview.

So rather than POD — “print on demand” — we gvie you NOD — “news on demand.”

Zuckerman listed a goal of $5,000; to date, he has more than doubled that.

God bless the child who’s got his own, but if this is the shape of things to come, we’re in trouble.

(Slate.com’s Hang Up and Listen podcast covered this story in it’s latest edition.)

“Been away so long I hardly new the place…”

with apologies to Lennon and McCartney…

Things at the office are getting dicey. More attrition, which means the work that still must go on gets apportioned out among those who remain, which means a lot more work for yours truly. Still in all, I shouldn’t complain too much. At least I still have a job. But on the other hand, that kind of attitude leads to a sense of dependence and complacency: don’t rock the boat, keep your head down, or you’ll get sacked (fired for you Americans out there).

So here’s trying to catch up a little bit.

  • Michael Calderone at Politico.com writes about the new round of layoffs at Newsweek “[Editor Jon] Meacham, in a memo obtained by POLITICO, noted that the magazine has taken a different direction this year and, despite the layoffs, claimed that it “continues to appear promising in terms of building and retaining an engaged audience that we hope will be attractive to advertisers.” But what about attractive to readers? I’ve heard many complaints about the new look of the publication, the photos and even physical feel of the pages are unworthy of a magazine with such a long and proud tradition. Oh, sorry, forgot. No one really cares about the readers these days.
  • The number of homeless magazine continues to grow, too: Foliomag.com ran this story about “shelter” magazines, those publications that deal with lovely homes that look like they were set up in a Twilight Zone universe, i.e., no one lives there. Said genre appears to be growing. How many times have your passed by a furniture store and wondered how they can afford to stay open, since it doesn’t look like they have many customers, especially during the week? This comes at the same time as Hachette shuttering Metropolitan Homes.
  • A few entries ago, I noted the AP-free week that was about to take place. This piece from Mediaite (bad name, BTW. Sounds too much like mediaLITE, which has negative connotations) warns about such experiments, worried that they might become accepted practice among the large papers, already hurting for actual news content. “There’s no denying that the raw materials are out there,” writes Pat Kiernan. “But so are a million recipes for a Thanksgiving turkey. Or dozens of blogged opinions about the health care debate. And I still see the value in having an experienced editor do the sorting for me.” Hear hear. And check out the site; it’s kind of fun.
  • Do you think rival newspaper relish the poor fates of their competitors? Or is it a matter of sinking or swimming together? In this case, The New York Times reports on the New York Post‘s woes.

Who needs you anyway?

According to this item from Tower Ticker, the Chicago Tribune will go without the AP feed for one week, as an experiment, beginning Nov. 8.

As of 2005, the news collected by the AP is published and republished by more than 1,700 newspapers, in addition to more than 5,000 television and radio broadcasters. The photograph library of the AP consists of over 10 million images. The Associated Press operates 243 news bureaus, and it serves at least 120 countries, with an international staff located all over the world. (Wiki alert).

so let’s see: newspapers are cutting their staffs, and now they’re doing without the AP for content. Looks like a lot of internships are about to open up.

 

Soapbox: “Up against the (pay) wall!”

Any researcher who has found a newspaper story via a search engine knows the frustration of receiving a message that the article is for paying subscribers only. So I don’t know what the big deal is about more publications taking this route.

I do know that the technological/ knowledge  divide is getting wider and wider. We live in a town that’s very diverse, socioeconomically speaking. And while many families are fortunate to have home computers, others are not. So when my kid comes home and does a lovely job composing attractive reports, full of charts and illustrations, will she have an advantage over someone who has limited access at a public facility, such as a library or in the school itself?

Anyway, here are a couple of pieces I came across that discuss the encroachment of the whole pay-for-play (in this case, read) issue.

Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves

How bad are things at the Times? According to this piece in the New York Observer, the Metro Desk will no longer subsidize newspaper and magazine subscriptions (for the most part). The staffers are now on the hook for their own reading materials.

I had one subscrition at my office to a bi-monthly specialty publication. I think it was $35 a year. I no longer subscribe, but I think that was more due to a falling out with that magazine over a difference of opinion regarding an attribution issue. Fortunately, I can get the information from other sources, but it’s more laborious.

  • A reluctant welcome

    It’s no secret what’s going on the field of print journalism. It’s going into the crapper. I wonder if Mr. Internet realized this would happen when he invented the World Wide Web. Regardless, the situation is here and we’re stuck with it. The purpose of this blog is to blow off a little steam, and I invite my fellow ink-stained wretches to join in with their own tales of woe or triumph. Maybe this will turn into a nice little support network. Questions? Suggestions? E-mail me at worriedjournalist(at) gmail(dot)com.
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