Paying for news content: The continuum spreads wider

The debate rages on about whether news publishers — especially newspapers — should charge for news on their websites. Meanwhile, new technology solutions keep popping up to facilitate paid online content, though the decision on what to charge for and what to offer free remains with individual publishers. These new vendors merely enable charging for…

‘Voluntary won’t work!’ reminds me of ‘Craig who?’

Almost forgot to plug my latest Editor & Publisher Online column here: “Readers Want to Pay for News Online — So Let Them.” It’s a summary of the growing number of solutions to allow online users to voluntarily financially support the websites and blogs they visit, or like, or individual stories (and other content). A…

The high cost of charging pennies rather than free

My friend Pete Welter passed along some fascinating research about consumer behavior when it comes to free vs. paid products and services. There are some lessons for the newspaper industry as it debates things like micropayments vs. free news content on the web, and how it will handle charging for news (or not) on mobile…

No solution to newspaper problems? Hah!

I must say, I’ve never felt this pessimistic about the future of newspaper companies. (Thanks, API for suggesting a suicidal strategy to the industry.) Sure, I’ve been uncertain for a LONG time that newspaper companies could make a graceful transition into the digital age, but I’d felt that when things got bad enough for the…

Reporters as waiters (or the joy of tipping)

We all know that journalists are poorly paid, in general, and long have been. Now with news companies laying off staff and cutting wages of those remaining, it’s even worse. That got me thinking about my last blog post about a new tipping system that allows a reader to tip a specific writer for an…

Get paid to write online (pay me, please!)

Since much of my attention these days seems to be on how to get writers and media companies paid on the web, allow me to pass along the latest scheme I’ve learned of. Payyattention.com (2 y’s?) looks to be promising for bloggers and individual writers wanting their fans to voluntarily pay for their work. The…

Alternatives to paid-online-news cliff jumping

If you’ve read my columns or blog lately, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of forcing web users to pay for news content. (See previous blog item posted earlier today.) I DO want people to pay news companies to support the important journalism that they do, but the dangers of cutting off a news…

What’s Journalism Online’s real intent?

Over at the increasingly wonderful Neiman Journalism Lab blog, Zachery Seward has published a transcript of his interview with Journalism Online founder Steven Brill. (If you prefer you can listen to the 23-minute audio interview included with the article.) JO, as most of you know, is an attempt to allow newspaper and magazine publishers to…

I may advocate free web news, but let’s not be dogmatic

I’m on record as being opposed to charging for generic news content (including locally reported stories) on newspaper websites. I covered that in my last Editor & Publisher Online column, where I also outlined an alternative strategy to supplement weak online ad revenues. I also liked Steve Buttry’s “Seven reasons charging for content won’t work,”…

Q: ‘Who’s tried that already?’ A: ‘Who cares!’

This has happened a few times (including recently), and it’s become a pet peeve that I need to get off my chest. As I occasionally do digital-media consulting work for media companies, or bid on consulting jobs, it’s not uncommon to be asked after presenting a new idea: “Has anyone else tried this and shown…

Why Google soars, and newspapers sink

Hint: It’s the leadership and corporate culture! Check out this video of Google CEO Eric Schmidt being interviewed for WashingtonPost.com’s “On Leadership” series by Steven Pearlstein: Wow. I hadn’t heard Schmidt talk about the Google corporate culture before, but watching this video interview made me realize why his company is so successful, and how the…

Paid web news = Fail! I offer a softer alternative

My May Editor & Publisher Online column was published today — “Getting Money from Readers Who Won’t Pay for Online News” — and it’s mostly getting positive reviews so far. I make the case against daily newspapers’ shift toward charging for local news on their websites, and suggest an alternative: newspaper.com paid memberships that work…

‘Will you pay for news?’ … ‘Hell, no!’

In this Denver Post story about parent company MediaNews Group’s new plan to charge for online news content, there’s an informal online poll. The results aren’t pretty for MNG. I’m quoted as the dissenting voice in this piece by reporter Andy Vuong, but it’s a tiny clip and he leaves out most of my arguments…

To Eric Schmidt: What happened to ‘Don’t Be Evil’?

I’ve tried to make the case in the last couple of blog posts that it’s in Google’s interest to share ad revenues with news providers, by opening up Google News fully to advertising and offering a story-clickthrough-based rev-share program for participating publishers tracked by the service. Without throwing a good-sized financial bone at the news…

How can newspapers help Google?

What goes around, comes around. … Sometimes when you’re having trouble coming up with a solution to a difficult problem, it helps to turn things upside down and get a new perspective. I’d like to see the newspaper industry, especially the big metro dailies which are in the most trouble and closest to collapse, look…