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I don't want free content..but wait I do...geesh!!!

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by flexmaster33, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Been enduring a frustrated online browser for the last six months, constantly complaining that what we offer online simply isn't enough to keep her interest...yet she continues to check the site on a regular basis it seems :)

    Anyway, this last week my editor and I each responded saying she could get full coverage by subscribing to our print edition, which is available through the mail anywhere in the United States.

    Here's here response to that idea...

    Good lord that is the same response I got from your editor....I don't want FREE CONTENT online, just a little update on Dustin's condition would be nice. The kid could have died at a football game and there is no update on his status.

    I don't want to order the paper, I just think your readers online would like a short sentence of something about something as major as a (possible) life threatening injury and how the kid is doing. Why do I have to order a paper and have it mailed to me (days later, probably) just to know how a kid is doing. Look, here is an example:

    "Dustin spent two days in the hospital after surgery, everything went well and he is expected to make a full recovery."

    See.......it's that easy.

    We got updates in the past online.....why the change?

    Doesn't matter.....I'll just check (the state's big paper website)

    1) she is asking for free content and lays that out quite clearly
    2) she won't find what she's looking for on the big-paper site
    3) I pointed these two points out clearly in a final response tonight...and yes, I'm done dealing with this moron at this point :)
  2. TimmyP

    TimmyP Member

    I know you said you're done dealing with her, but you could ask her if she goes into a restaurant and says, "I don't want a FREE MEAL, but I just want to know what the food tastes like."

    It's the same thing. She wants something for free that has value.

    At my former paper, we had an old bastard who would call in regularly and ask about things that were in that day's paper, like TV listings, or sports scores, or how a particular player did in a game, etc. As long as we weren't busy, we looked the information up for him and helped him out. One day I was having a horrible day and was in a pissy mood. He called and didn't even ask for the information, just said real gruffly, "What channel is Pro Team on today?"

    I responded, "I'm not sure. I don't have a paper in front of me. You know that information's in our newspaper every day, right?" He scoffed and said, "I don't buy your paper." I was boiling at that point, so I said, "It sounds like maybe you should. It would save you a lot of phone calls to get information you're interested in." Then I hung up.

    It didn't stop him from calling, but it felt good at the time.
  3. nmmetsfan

    nmmetsfan Active Member

    They don't need it all to be free, just what they're interested in. If only we would realize that

  4. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!
  5. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    All this proves is how used to free online stuff everyone has become.

    They don't even consider what they're asking for to be an expectation, or anything special. Rather, it's just the way it is, just a fact of life.
  6. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I have no doubt she's a pain in the ass.

    But... is she wrong here?

    I take it you ran a story about an athlete who was nearly killed, and that information was available free.

    Now she wants to know how the kid is doing... and you're telling her that she should buy a subscription and wait for the newspaper in the mail?
  7. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    Crack dealers do this all the time.
  8. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    The story mentioned in passing an injury to this kid...serious enough for a hospital visit, but he'll be back playing in a few weeks most likely. The newspaper version had a sidebar about the load of injuries the team has incurred over its first couple games.

    It's the talk around town, which is where this lady is getting it from and wanting to be up on the gossip.

    We use our website to bring timely condensed results...basically a place to see if you team won or lost that night and maybe a highlight or two from the game.

    I agree with the restaurant example...although I always use the Costco free sample scenario. Say your walking through the warehouse store and you sample a bit of sausage..."Say that is good, I'll take a whole box...they are free, right?"
  9. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    She just wants your site to be Facebook.
  10. Kato

    Kato Active Member

    This is a good-news/bad-news situation ...

    The bad news is that, in 2010, there is an expectation of free content on newspaper websites. I'm afraid that we might be stuck in that. Even if tomorrow every newspaper in the country put up a paywall, people would simply look for other free news content available online. I think we're screwed in that department.

    The good news, however, there is an expectation that we have up-to-date information on our sites. People turn to us first, especially when it comes to local news. Someone gets seriously hurt in a football game? The expectation is that the local paper's site must have news on it. That's a good thing for us.

    We've had this argument in our newsroom and it gets pretty heated. Our cops reporter was covering a murder and keeping some of his reporting out of the online stories, putting them only in the print edition. His argument was that he didn't want that free, up-to-date info falling into the hands of TV and radio reporters, especially those from the Metro 85 miles away who would be coming down to cover it.

    I argued that our readers would be looking at our site and expecting his excellent and exhaustive reporting as he found out the info. They'd look to us first. But if we didn't have it, they'd turn elsewhere. If he was holding out for a static, print edition that was coming out 12-14 hours after news originally broke, we're doing a disservice to our community in 2010.

    So how do we accept the bad news of free content and cash in on the fact that people still rely on newspapers, even if they're in a different format? And if I knew the answer to that question, I'd be a rich man.
  11. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    If she knows the family that well, why not check their Facebook page, or use some unlimited nighttime minutes and make a phone call?

    This is starting to sound like one of those "why don't you cover the JV?" situations.
  12. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I think it was an innocent request for information that turned into "But I'm the *customer* you have to do whatever I say" indignation.
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