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WaPo reduced to asking readers to hit the Tip Jar

WaPo reduced to asking readers to hit the Tip Jar

I haven’t read The Times of London since it erected its massive paywall.

The Gannett local papers, such as the Ithaca Journal, allow a certain number of visits, but the pop-up warnings pretty much have me not visiting.

I rarely visit The Providence Journal since it’s paywall went up, except to visit occasionally the non-paywall Breaking News.

The NY Times paywall is pretty easy to evade if you know what you are looking for, but otherwise it keeps me away.

And so on, and so on.

Now add WaPo, Publisher’s letter: How the paywall will work (emphasis mine):

On June 12, we will begin phasing in our metered subscription model. It will take us a few weeks to get everyone into the system, but doing that will allow us to ensure that you have the best possible experience.

Once the subscription service launches, you will initially be able to view 20 pieces of content per month before being asked to subscribe. We hope you will consider subscribing even if you don’t reach the limit; a subscription will provide unlimited access to all The Post’s world-class journalism, multimedia and interactive features and more. Importantly, you will also be helping to support our newsgathering operations.

Whether or not you subscribe, we will not limit your ability to view The Post’s homepage and section front pages, watch videos or search classified advertising. In addition, readers who come to The Post through search engines or shared links will be able to access the linked page regardless of the number of articles they have previously viewed.

Our digital packages will be priced at $9.99 per month for access to the desktop and mobile web only and $14.99 for an all-digital package which includes access to all of The Post’s custom apps. Home delivery subscribers will continue to have complimentary access to all of The Post’s digital products.

Got that.  Even if you don’t need the subscription, WaPo asks you to subscribe anyway to support the paper.  In other words, hit the Tip Jar.

One of the greatest news operations in the world has been reduced to begging like a blogger.

I don’t think it will work.

Seems like we are reverting to the days of paper newspapers.  Which is a dying model, and why paper newspapers went digital.

What is wrong with this picture?


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Much like traditional book publishers, traditional news organizations just don’t seem to ‘get’ this whole digital/internet thing and they probably never will. Unless the government takes over the internet and squashes the ‘new media’, I think legacy news organizations are doomed to a slow death just like legacy paper book publishers. The difference is I don’t think paper books will ever completely disappear, but traditional newspapers digital or otherwise? Oh yeah, not needed for anything.

    abenson229 in reply to abenson229. | June 6, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Actually there’s a probable exception to that. The small, local papers, whether daily or weekly will likely survive, but they serve a need and fill a niche that the big news organizations don’t so much anymore with so many free alternate sources.

      Owego in reply to abenson229. | June 6, 2013 at 11:12 am

      I think you’re right. We have a small weekly that’s run out of a house on a side street in the village. They do a great and unbiased job reporting local politics, community events, sports, and activities – much better than any of the three regional (we’re surrounded!) Gannett papers, including the one up in the Professor’s neck of the woods lovingly referred to as the “Ithaca Urinal.”

There is nothing wrong with this picture. We are front row to watch a dying industry; one that committed suicide by going all in for the left. Let them beg. They won’t get a nickel from me.

Few folks are browsing through traditional news media websites in the manner of reading a newspaper. Rather, they are arriving because they are obtaining information from search engine news headlines or collected subject-specific links to multiple news sources.

These media sites therefore cannot totally block their content because they want it picked up by the search engines, want links, and want the drive-by traffic for their advertisers.

On the one hand, in this age of so many small sources of internet disinformation, my first inclination is to regret that traditional reliable news sources are having so much trouble.

But then I remember that over the past five years so many of them have completely discredited themselves with biased reporting, lack of reporting on major issues, and stuffing their websites with contrived froufra, that it’s probably fair to say that they did it to themselves.

Ooops. Out with the old and in with the new.

…a subscription will provide unlimited access to all The Post’s world-class journalism…

They have that?

    vulgorilla in reply to rinardman. | June 6, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Journalism? Nope!! Just left wing propaganda. The WaPo wouldn’t know journalism if it walked up and bit them on the booty.

Better to pass around a tin cup than acknowledge they know what the problem is. It’s everything that’s wrong with today’s “elite.” They’ll believe they were right as they’re being lowered into the ground. The sooner we’re rid of them, the better the chances they don’t take a lot of us with them.

Insulting, demonizing and generally pissing off half of your potential customer base is not the best model for a successful business.

These folks have always been slow to adapt to new technology. Remember when it was required of every “journalist” to write a story about how they were being forced to give up their old trusty typewriter for one of those newfangled word processor machines?

I work for Gannett in circulation and was VERY skeptical when all of Gannett’s (sans USAT) papers went behind the paywall. However, it has turned out to be a money making endeavor that increased profitability and saved the stock price for at least a while. WaPo was watching Gannett’s transition very closely and made their decision based on Gannett’s now year old model. Their “20 pages free” model looks identical to Gannett’s.

So far, it really works. Color me stunned. Consumers of news are paying for the online and mobile product.

As you are aware, The Wall Street Journal has been behind a paywall for a long time. Now we know broader focused news papers are profitable behind paywalls, too.

This seems to be the future of news papers. Old guys like me that make sure the older folks that like print news get it are being phased out.

great unknown | June 6, 2013 at 11:12 am

I have a tip for their tip jar: try honest, comprehensive, unbiased journalism, and this exercise in futility would be unnecessary.

Of course, that might necessitate the replacement of their entire current editorial board and staff. After deep introspection and consideration, I find that this possibility causes me absolutely no discomfort.

Juba Doobai! | June 6, 2013 at 11:36 am

These people are crazy! The UK Telegraph says 10 pieces and then paywall.

Bub, do you know how many computers I have access to? Do you know there are a variety of ways to beat your paywall?

Pay to read a newspaper? I don’t think so.

If I refused to buy the printed Old Gray Whore, why would I pay online to read her biased drivel?

Put money in the pockets of a bunch of Conservative-hating Commes? Hell, no! No subsidizing thes who are undermining American values.

Government employees and military will have unlimited access to the site (while in their workplace). And since these two groups form a huge percentage of their readership, one wonders what effect this paywall is really going to have.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to gwest. | June 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Why, but why?

    Oh it’s because of their propaganda!

    Propaganda for free!

Henry Hawkins | June 6, 2013 at 11:55 am

Part of the problem is that newspapers are all-in-one products. Everything’s in there: Breaking news local, state, national, and international, sports, weather, opinion, features, comics, want ads, obituaries, etc. to read a newspaper is a considerable investment of time and the cultural habit of aging generations. It translates well *graphically* to the internet, in fact, it allows vast improvements with interactives, photos, etc., but it doesn’t match the emerging cultural norm for consuming these products. Today’s surfers are hit and run and prefer specialist outlets that provide precisely and only what they want. Call it media a la cart. Personally, I want just news, politics, and sports, and don’t much care about everything else you find in an all-in-one publication, whether paper, TV, or online.

I think specialization will carry the immediate future because it is slowly taking over as we speak. Among a dozen other undercurrents, I think we are seeing a return of the 60s/70s era anti-establishment movement, this time in response to very specific abuses of power by established, entrenched politicians and lifer government bureaucrats at powerful agencies like the IRS, as well as general misconduct by established media, established financial powerbrokers, and established political action groups. People are turning away from the NYT, LAT, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc., because their product is provided inconveniently to the changing consumer styles of info acquisition, and because they are so obviously politically biased with objectivity wholly corrupted. This is the hole through which blogs have blasted their way to the top of the heap. I think this will continue, that professional blogs will replace legacy media, and that the survivors will be one of two types: news aggregators like Drudge (headlines and links) and specialist blogs precisely like Legal Insurrection/College Insurrection. Much of it is about niche location.

It may be a long while before we see objective news product again – and I’m not sure we ever really had.

I don’t think it will work either, but that’s in large part because it’s so easy to get information for free from countless other outlets. It also doesn’t help that many of these pay walls are laughably easy to get around. So, the Washington Post needs a reliable pay wall and also hope that enough people actually want to read 20 or more articles a month enough that they’ll pay.

I understand the complaint about newspapers reverting to the “dying” model, but there’s a reason for that. That dying model made a lot more money for the same amount (or really less) of work and audience than the new one does. I don’t work in advertising, so I’m not exactly sure why this is the case, but newspapers make less for online advertising than they do for print advertising (another part of the problem is that the classified ads have been largely replaced by things like Craigslist).

Yep, I quit reading the ProJo when they went to facecrook for comments and it is now considered junk.

I quit the NYT for the same reasons and the fact that they no longer report any fit news.

And I’ll quit the WaPo for the same reasons.

In PVD, you can always go to GoLocalProvidence and in DC the Times is an alternative.

You can color me as being cheap but it all boils down that I march to my own drumbeat…

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to GrumpyOne. | June 6, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    You probably already know this, but if you just “Copy and Paste the News Headline” into Google or Bing, etc. you usually can find the same press release on several other web sites, usually where on one you can read it.

I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for these people to figure out how to make money. Now that everyone has broadband and streaming of video is possible all they need to do is serve a 15-30 TV spot before you can view the content. Youtube does it. Sometimes you have the option to skip the ad and others you don’t (I’m sure the advertiser has to pay more to force the ad on the audience). You’re welcome newspaper industry.

2nd Ammendment Mother | June 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Ditto on the Weekly Standard… which was the first online publication that I started reading daily. I still cruise by the headlines, but go elsewhere for content.