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Do you want the Upshot or the double-dip?

Do you prefer the Upshot (new media)  or the double-dip (old media)?

Both have made splashes in the journalism world recently.

Yahoo! News recently launched its news blog, The Upshot featuring a team of reporters, and perhaps more importantly, a new algorithm-based search engine that will help direct the reporting team’s focus. Here is the low-down on The Upshot.

The double-dip involves a controversial paywall the newspaper in Lancaster, Pa., has instituted. In essence, the Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era paper is charging non-subscribers $1.99 a month to access online obituaries, if they wish to read more than seven obituaries a month. Grieving families pay for those obituaries with the expectation they will be available to whomever can access the print or online newspaper. That will no longer be the case. Pay me to publish, Lancaster’s New Era says, and then pay me to gain access to the paid-for content. Thus the double-dip. (Here is an article that explains the entire experiment.)

Lancaster Editor Ernie Schreiber argues with former newspaper editor Steve Buttry that this innovation is no different than the paper charging for a subscription rather than giving away the paper for free. Here is Buttry’s blog post on their debate.

This is not entirely true. The fact is, subscribers pay for the privilege of reading the ENTIRE paper. Asking someone to pay for access to something that has been free, something that others have paid to be published, is simply a bad idea. It’s innovation for the sake of innovation.

Newspapers are experimenting with paywalls with increasing frequency. Of course, marrying good ideas with new content will lead to increased revenues, and perhaps to new paywalls.

But give me a new blog, with a team of reporters and a hyped-up algorithm any day.

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