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Newspaper websites, can they be eliminated?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 93Devil, Mar 16, 2012.


You are the publisher of a newspaper. What do you do?

  1. Keep everything the way it is. We have bottomed out, and we are comfortable here.

    7 vote(s)
  2. Shut down the website for good. Make people buy a paper, printed on paper, once again if they want t

    3 vote(s)
  3. Go to a paid subscription website right away.

    26 vote(s)
  4. Close the website for two weeks then reboot it as a pay site.

    9 vote(s)
  1. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    I am drafting off of another thread that mentioned a paper that seemed to be doing well, but it never had a website. I am curious to what others think.

    OK, you own a newspaper and you want to make a profit, but you still want to have a good product. You have four choices.

    Me, I close down the website for two weeks and reboot it at a charge of $5 per month if you want to read anything on it. To expand that thought, I would work to try and only print a Wednesday and Sunday paper once the majority of the subscriptions came from the web.

  2. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Are you a publisher? :D

    Regardless, I like your idea. You can only try, and then, see what happens. It would help if every paper did it, preferably at one time, of course, just to get it out of people's heads that they are entitled to and supposed to be getting all our information and all our work free of charge.

    But I think Web sites are here to stay and can no longer be eliminated, if they are already in existence at your paper.

    The industry must find a way to make sites profitable, or else discover yet some other heretofore untried model of distribution.
  3. young-gun11

    young-gun11 Member

    To be honest, the only way to survive in this business is find a way for your website to make money while not charging for all of your content.

    I would likely have "web-only" stories that were interesting and worthwhile that would be for newspaper subscribers only. Those who subscribe to the paper would get a password and those who bought only online subscriptions as well.

    But there is too much out there free already for pay wall sites to survive much longer.
  4. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Not your local stuff and your obits. That is yours and yours only in 90 percent of all newspapers.
  5. young-gun11

    young-gun11 Member

    I've talked to my publisher about making some things a web-only, paid service. Much akin to ESPN.com's "insider". Would likely write things I don't have room for in the paper. I have even kicked the idea around of HS football gamers because we print on Thursday (I'm at a weekly, obviously) and by the time they are printed, it's six days old. Who wants to read that? So, I do a hybrid short review, more preview story. Could then put at the bottom, for more in depth coverage of last week's games, see our website...
  6. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Sports is a very, very fertile ground for premium paid content -- particularly in a situation where you can team up with other paper(s) for coverage across a league or conference. (Sorry, guys, the days of "competition" really are over.) Would love to see more sites capitalize on this opportunity.
  7. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I would love to see a "Buy This article" button where readers bay a nickel or 10 cents for a story, a la iTunes. People wouldn't think twice about it.
  8. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Not so sure, at least not at volumes to make it worth while. You buy on iTunes or Amazon because you're going to listen to it or read it over and over again. News content is too disposable.
  9. lantaur

    lantaur Well-Known Member

    You're right, they wouldn't think twice. They'd ignore it and move on.
  10. young-gun11

    young-gun11 Member

  11. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Just wondering ... a few years ago, there was a push to get people to subscribe to "e editions" of the paper, where people could pay to read PDFs of actual newspaper pages online. Didn't work too well, because it was cumbersome to read those PDFs on a computer screen.

    Now that tablets, phones, etc. are popular, I wonder if something like that could work, with "pages" designed to be easily read on those devices. You could charge a small subscription fee and (gasp!) sell ads for those pages.
  12. TGO157

    TGO157 Active Member

    It's like you're reading a newspaper.
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