Note the date that this ran in CJR – and even that was late for the industry to come to a reckoning. The New York Times has now embraced a pay model as its future and is beginning to see a profit from its subscription base. True, the NYT is a unique entity, in terms of content, but that’s why it needed to jump first. The next step is for other papers with a national presence – The Washington Post, the L.A. Times – to follow suit. What they are waiting for, I have no clue. If you can’t charge for your product, you have no product – a freshman marketing major can tell you as much. And again, content and copyright have value. They matter. –DS/em>
The Columbia Journalism Review, July 2009
Reprinted with permission.
Most readers won’t pay for news, but if we move quickly, maybe enough of them will. One man’s bold blueprint.
To all of the bystanders reading this, pardon us. The true audience for this essay narrows necessarily to a pair of notables who have it in their power to save high-end journalism—two newspaper executives who can rescue an imploding industry and thereby achieve an essential civic good for the nation. It’s down to them. The rest of the print journalism world is in slash-and-burn mode, cutting product and then wondering why the product won’t sell, rushing to give away what remains online and wondering further why that content is held by advertisers to be valueless. The mode is full-bore panic.