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March 06 2009

Democracy Now! 2009-03-06 Friday

Democracy Now! 2009-03-06 Friday

  • Headlines for March 06, 2009
  • As Obama Hosts Summit on Healthcare, Marginalized Advocates Ask Why Single Payer Is Ignored
  • HRW's Richard Dicker and Scholar, Mediator Alex de Waal Debate International Criminal Court Indictment of Sudanese President for Mass Killings in Darfur
  • California State Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Gay Marriage Ban
  • Rocky Mountain News Ceases Publication as Other Newspapers Face Threat of Similar Fate

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March 03 2009

Why Media Must Charge For Web Content

newsstand.jpgFrom Reflections Of A Newsosaur: Desperate to pump fresh revenues into their struggling businesses, Hearst Corp. and Newsday said last week that they intend to start charging for at least some of the content on their websites.

Judging from the terseness of the announcements, the statements seemed to be more aspirational than the result of lengthy and detailed strategic planning. But they’re a start. As Lao-tzu said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

It’s a journey publishers absolutely have to begin. After years of giving everything away for free on the web, it won’t be easy for them to start charging for at least some of their content they spend small fortunes to produce. But there is no other choice.

If the news media don’t start getting paid for at least a portion of what they produce, some outlets simply aren’t going to be around to provide it. It’s already too late to save the Rocky Mountain News and probably too late to save the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Tucson Citizen, which each face shutdown unless last-minute buyers emerge to rescue them.

So, free is not a business model that will support journalism produced by professional news organizations.

Because I have no faith in the blogosphere to replace the vital work of the professional (though admittedly flawed) press, I sincerely hope the traditional media will put a major effort into finding ways to get paid for at least a portion of their valuable content.

Emotions on this subject run so high that it is difficult for some people to have a rational discussion about it. So let’s talk about chocolate for a moment, instead.

Specifically, I have in mind the complimentary, foil-wrapped squares you get at the Ghirardelli store at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. The candy is free for a very sound business reason: The management hopes you will like it so much that you will buy several pounds to take home.

Judging from the long lines of tourists waiting to shell out $39.95 for gift-wrapped boxes of candy, it works. But I am sure even the most ardent advocates of free web content would agree that Ghirardelli would go out of business quickly if it let visitors consume all the candy in the store at no charge.

Now, let’s get back to the media business. While it would have been perfectly sensible in the early days of the Internet for newspapers to give consumers a taste of some content to encourage the purchase of more of it, it made no sense then – and makes even less sense now – to give away all of that expensively produced content for free. Continue at Reflections Of A Newsosaur-->>>


Alan D. Mutter is perhaps the only CEO in Silicon Valley who knows how to set type one letter at a time. Mutter began his career as a newspaper columnist and editor. Mutter now is a Managing Partner of Tapit Partners.

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February 28 2009

February 27 2009


A Newspaper Refuses to Die Quietly

rockylogo.jpgDenver's Rocky Mountain News daily paper is being closed by conglomerate Scripps Howard. The newspaper had a difficult year economically, was put up for sale for a mere one month and this week was told by its owners that the doors were simply going to shut.

It's a story that we may see more and more often in coming months and years. The newspaper industry is changing radically and in many cases contracting. There are a lot of possible explanations and quite a few likely consequences to consider. Today, instead of discussing those in our blog post - we want to turn the microphone over to the good folks at the Rocky. They've produced a very moving 20 video about how it feels and what it means to lose their jobs and newspaper. The staff has put that video on the top of their front page, we've embedded it below.


We believe the closure of the Rocky is a real loss. The video below puts it much better than we can, though, so check it out. We don't resent the bad-mouthing of bloggers at 14 minutes, there's some truth to the criticism.

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

We'll miss the newspapers that disappear for their civic responsibility, their breadth of coverage, their budgets for investigation and their physical form. It's nice to hold a physical newspaper, it's nice to visit a news website of general interest and it's nice to picture the timeless role of the news reporter with notepad in hand. As part of the world of new media online journalism, we don't wish newspaper ill at all. We recognize how much we have to learn from the people behind them. We hope that knowledge can live on.

For more on this general topic check out Newspaper Death Watch, Online Journalism Blog and Thanks to NPR's Andy Carvin for pointing us to the Rock's important video.


Democracy Now! 2009-02-27 Friday

Democracy Now! 2009-02-27 Friday

  • Headlines for February 27, 2009
  • Rocky Mountain News Ends Publication in Latest Casualty of Ailing Newspaper Industry
  • Can US Achieve Meaningful Healthcare Reform Within For-Profit System?
  • Senate Backs D.C. Voting Rights, But Some Local Activists Call for Statehood
  • Sri Lankan Civilians Caught Between Worsening Military-Tamil Rebel Clashes

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Reposted byfilme filme
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