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micropayments and sports journalism

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by gradstudent2100, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. gradstudent2100

    gradstudent2100 New Member

    Grad student here doing a little informal research on the journalism industry and it's current economic situation... I want to get a few opinions on what journalists think about the micropayment idea.

    Would it work for sports features? Not wire stories/everyday coverage, but stuff like the piece the Washington Post published recently on Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams? Would a reader pay a few cents to read that if that's the only way he could?

    Also, how would journalists want to be paid for work like that? On salary, through a cut of the micropayment intake, or both?

    Thanks. I'll hang up and listen.
  2. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    It's a hassle for readers to whip out their credit card to pay a few cents and the history of the web tells us they won't do it.

    The cost of payment processing would eat up a huge portion, if not all, of your micropayments.
  3. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    I just started a BLOG! (I know, release the hounds right?) and I read the Time Magazine article about micropayments and how to save the industry and have thought about this myself.
    Personally, I don't know if it's a good idea unless you can attach a service that customers already know like Amazon, ITunes or PayPal to get them to pay for an article.
    The question then comes as to what to charge. A penny an inch? More? Less? Right now, there are so many variables and no precedent of note to give the industry any baseline, so the higher-ups won't like the idea of doing something without knowing the bottom line.
    However, if it's done and done right, it could be another way for newspapers to stay afloat and hopefully keep us all gainfully employed.
    As for the reporter's payment, you know that powers that be will keep all the extra profits for themselves and continue to pay the pittance to the people working to get the story. Sad but true.
  4. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    Probably wouldn't work. If you haven't read this already it'll be a good addition to your research.

  5. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    Don't charge for the content. Charge for the ability to comment. Give each IP address 1 freebie per week, then charge them a quarter apiece after that.

    Won't make anyone rich, but it'll get rid of some of the assholes.
  6. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    Great idea! Except screw giving them one free one. Charge them $0.99 for the first 250 characters, $.01 for each additional character.
  7. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    The first one free gets the arguments going.

    (Oh, and to really make money, every story should be about immigration)
  8. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    It will get rid of the assholes, and 95 percent of the banter from readers, which will turn the readers elsewhere for conversation about what you cover. At least losing web traffic won't cost you online advertising revenue, because you still don't have any.
  9. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    What if...
    Newspapers offered online content to subscribers. Those who subscribe to the paper would get access to photo galleries, videos, message boards and be permitted to leave comments. Those who don't subscribe to the paper, who just like reading online, could pay for online subscriptions to those parts of the newspaper website. They could download photos, share videos, make comments. I realize this has been tried in various forms. But isn't it about time to start figuring out what has value and what people are willing to pay for?
  10. Ira_Schoffel

    Ira_Schoffel Member

    I'm a big advocate of charging for the news. Can't believe the idiocy that has led us down a road to where we charge people for a printed version of the news, but give away the electronic version, which often comes with bells and whistles such as photo galleries, videos and message boards, etc. It's just nuts.

    Having said that, I don't think it's gonna happen. I simply don't think the newspaper execs -- as a whole -- have the guts to switch models at this point. Any subscription model you go to (micropayments or not) is going to cause a major downturn in page views and traffic. That's going to take a chunk out of the advertising revenue being generated.

    While that advertising revenue isn't currently enough to sustain our operations, it's something. And risking that revenue on the HOPE that subscriptions would work is too risky for most newspaper leaders.

    I personally think a subscription model is the only solution. But it's easy for me to say that because I'm not one of the guys who would lose my job for being wrong.
  11. dragonfly

    dragonfly Member

    I think the best case study will be InDenverTimes.com The new website with a bunch of RMN staffers...

    They need to get X amount of subscribers by May 4th in order to be viable. As a matter of principle, I just plunked down the $20 for three months. Let's see if they can make a go of it. It's like $4.99 a month if you sign up for a year. $6.99 a month if you do 3 months. Should be an interesting trial balloon
  12. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    The problem with paying reporters on a micropayment system (i.e. commission based on number of hits to their story) is you get a rise in tabloid journalism. Nobody will cover the water board meeting, even if there's arsenic in the lake, but everyone will turn in stories with "Notre Dame" "immigrant" "Britney" "machette" and "sex" in the headline.
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