Sunday, December 8, 2013

Columbian newspaper sails into pay territory

The Internet has turned the consumer into the publisher.

Washington paper sails into new pay territory.
There are an incredible number of people who enjoy writing and turn their craft into a website, a blog, or at a minimum a micro-blog such as Twitter.

All this information has flooded the world, offering a vast array of content and opinion and as a result has made it tough for those who write for a living to, well, actually make a living.

The largest newspaper in Southwest Washington, The Columbian Newspaper, announced this morning that they are initiating a paywall. A paywall means that not all the content on the site will remain free – some content will require a fee to view, and it’s likely to be the content most highly desired.

This morning, owner and publisher Scott Campbell posted an open letter to his readers titled Changing with the Reality of Online News, noting that section fronts and information produced by the advertising department will remain free. For the rest of the content, after 30 visits the user will be prompted to pay.

A handful of newspapers have been successful in building paywalls to help underwrite the cost of doing business. A larger number of newspapers have laid an gargantuan number of people off trying not to ask readers to pay for online news.

Readers who value journalism will likely respond first with howls and then a begrudging, “I guess it makes sense,” and move to open their pocketbooks or smartphone stash of cash.

Those who enjoy a less pure style of journalism will surf the Internet for the free stuff.

Which one are you?