A new push to pay for online news?

As print newspapers struggle to make a profit in the Internet age, Rupert Murdoch has threatened to remove News Corp. stories from Google’s search index as a way to encourage people to pay for content online, reported England’s Guardian newspaper on Monday.

Murdoch has called Google a "parasite" for taking news from the Wall Street Journal and other outlets and posting the stories on its search engine. Murdoch said he would consider blocking Google entirely once they had enacted plans to charge people for reading their stories on the web, the Guardian said.

"I think we will, but that’s when we start charging," he told the Guardian. "We have it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall, but it’s not right to the ceiling. You can get, usually, the first paragraph from any story – but if you’re not a paying subscriber to WSJ.com all you get is a paragraph and a subscription form."

Murdoch’s assertion, however, is not actually correct: users who click through to screened WSJ.com articles from Google searches are usually offered the full text of the story without any subscription block, the Guardian said. It is only users who find their way to the story through the Wall Street Journal’s website who are told they must subscribe before they can read further.

The question here is: Would you be willing to pay a small fee to read stories on duluthnewstribune.com?  With job cuts at the Star Tribune and rumors swirling this week about a possible closure of the Washington Times, print newspapers are searching for a new profit model that might need to include paid online subscriptions.

Locally, the Mesabi Daily News has begun charging readers for access to news.

A few months back, Time magazine suggested an iTunes format: charging a nickel or a dime for a story. So if you want to read Twin Ports Business, for instance, your PayPal account would be charged, say, 10 cents to read it.

Would you do it? Post a comment either way…

23 thoughts on “A new push to pay for online news?

  1. I don’t think I would. If the DNT started charging, I’d just find someplace else that’ll provide the same content for free. The only possible thing I’d pay for would be hard news articles every once in a while. There’s no way I’d ever pay for the opinion pages, as there are plenty of blogs that already provide that for free.

  2. Clearly the news business is in financial trouble due to the electronic options being substituted for the hard copy subscriptions. I guess I would pay for access–if it were a subscription no more enxpensive than the regular one (or packagd with a regular one). But I have to ask is there not a revenue stream from ads on the site, as with other internet businesses?

  3. What you are all forgetting is that blogs are getting this information (at least in a lot of cases) from sites like the DNT. So if they start to charge either the blogs will too (unless you have a blogger willing to pay for content so you don’t) or those bloggers are going to have to come out of the basement and go to city council meetings etc.

    The answer is to charge a fraction of a cent per story. Load your paypal style newspaper account up each month with $20 and then be able to use it on any newspaper website you want. The newspaper industry as a whole needs to come together to answer this problem. Doing it small scale and only one or two papers at a time (such as on the range) is doomed to fail.

  4. I stopped reading the Mesabi Daily News when they started charging. I would do the same with the DNT.

    I wonder how much Mesabi’s web traffic has plummeted?

  5. Since there are other sources for much of the same news (TV, radio, other internet sites, specialty publications), folks will not pay to get news. The model has to be that advertising dollars pay for the content. The better the content, then there will be more readers. The more readers (circulation), the more the content provider can charge advertisers. Why doesn’t online advertising support online content? Every online page of news seems to be surrounded by ads.

  6. I feel kind of bad to say this, because I do appreciate the newspapers and the Duluth News Tribune, but I honestly can’t see that I would do this. Whenever I run into a story that I want to read in the archives of newspaper sites, I just can’t seem to buy the story. I just tell myself I really don’t NEED to see it, and I move on. Not every blogger gets his news from traditional media. I get information for my blog from various sources, including people I know, friends, contacts, etc. I think blogs will become even more powerful if this happens, especially credible blogs that fact-check and report sources.

  7. DNT has to survive somehow, or they will piggyback off of other resources, which will take the “local” out of local news. So, the question really is: Will you pay to keep local jobs in play?”. Yes, I would.

  8. The DNT has become a sensationalist “newspaper”…. they don’t report the news, they try to sensationalize it….I don’t buy the National Enquire, I don’t buy the DNT anymore….they take sides and slant stories and the majority of the time I disagree with their take…so why would I pay for it? I go there for the obits and the reader’s views and hit the main websites like CNN and ABC news for actual news.

  9. ….. please tell me what story at any time was slanted? I’m a former employee of the paper and one thing that always irked me was when people said we were biased because we slanted a story this way or that and not one person ever has been able to produce an example. And yes there are pieces in the paper with a definite side. They are called editorials and that is the point of them. Editorials are produced outside the newsroom.

    As for paying for online content, I would keep your eyes peeled for Apple’s upcoming tablet, which apparently will partner with some high profile newspapers like the NY Times and create a new revenue model for content, which people believe could have a trickle down effect into newspapers the size of the DNT and smaller. Digital music wasn’t really a money maker until a big game changer like Apple entered the fray. I think it is going to take a similar entry by a company like them to really get people to latch onto the idea of paying for articles. The biggest hurdle might be having a system setup to easily do this.

  10. ….. I might also add that you believe CNN and ABC provide actual news and unbiased news at that. How many stories have each of these news organizations run on the Red Plan in the last year? Who there crunches the numbers on these plans like reporters Sarah Horner and Brandon Stahl? Wasn’t CNN the channel who plastered an X over the face of Dick Cheney during a speech he was giving?

  11. Why would anyone be stupid enough to do this? The Hibbing Daily Tribune currently charges for online content which is bull! Who knows how much traffic has decreased on hibbingmn.com due to charging for online content. Give me a break. Hibbing Daily Tribune doesn’t pay carriers what they are worth. No wonder they can’t find carriers to deliver their paper and rely on mail carriers to deliver the paper. People want their paper in the morning, not at 4:00 in the afternoon.

  12. I would probably pay, depending on the charge. I have always wondered why they didn’t charge for this service. People need to make a living, and if this is how the paper makes their profit, so be it. Or just shut down the internet paper, and go back to old fashioned newsprints!

  13. Did it ever occur to Rupert or any of you that the providers of news ARE getting paid. They are just getting paid what their product is worth. (which is not much) The fact that they are getting paid less and less should be a signal that what they are producing doesn’t have the value it used to. Instead, like the music industry, they blame their bad business decisions on someone else who they say is stealing. Good luck Rupert. Go Rogue (you and Sarah Palin) and we’ll see who is victorious – those with the ‘eyeballs’ or those with the barrier.

  14. Personally, I would NOT pay for online articles or comments. You have advertising on the internet version of the paper anyway. Besides, I already PAY for the printed version of the DNT, everyday with a subscription. So, if you started charging me for the internet version, I would cancel the printed subscription in a heartbeat!

  15. Charging for an internet local (market 134) news site is laughable. What the tribune and other company’s in the area need to do is change there sales resources to focus more on the internet readers. Lets be real, the news tribune doesn’t make money off it’s subscriber fees, it makes money off of advertising. That’s the reason they can sell you for 1/2 off. If they do watch that total views number on their home page to disappear.

  16. First, the DNT is really unnecessary. I have picked it up at the Dr’s office and the news for the day is so old. It’s recycled AP stuff I read online a couple of days before. The paper needs to go to a Sunday only edition to stay alive. Local news is covered for free on the networks, and NPR is what I listen to in the car. To charge for internet access to the site, I would never pay and just stay on MSNBC or CNN.com.

  17. The online ads are not as expensive to post as the print ads are which is why the newspapers do not make any money as the print ads are drying up so do their revenues. The online ads should be charged more to boost the revenue of the paper.

  18. No way…If you click on several stories it would be more expensive than purchasing a paper.
    Not a chance…I’ll do without, there are other information sources all over the web. Would be just another reason to get out of Duluth!

  19. I would not pay a dime. I do log on and read the paper some times 3-4 times per day. so for me to charge per story would cost me millions.
    however i may consider a monthly charge. Note, I lost my job and found another that doesn’t pay as much so i guess i my put news on the back burner..

  20. I’d pay to keep in touch with local news but the price would have to be reasonable. The current model is broken and newspapers have to find a new revenue stream to survive. Agree with an earlier poster that small newspapers can’t implement this new model on their own, the large papers have to initiate and the smaller markets follow.

  21. I am a Virginia, MN native, and I loved reading the Mesabi Daily News online almost everyday. Since they started charging, I stopped reading it. I’m bummed! Now, I feel so disconnected from my hometown!

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