About the Article
The article I have selected is about a newspaper, the Chicago tribune, and its move to start charging readers for reading their online content. This has not really been covered in the textbook yet but it has been a topic for class discussion. Online Journalism is now one of the main sources for news and while it is currently, for the most part, free, it won’t be like this for long. News organizations are beginning to start charging their users, and the Chicago tribune has joined the movement.
Online advertisement is currently a major money-maker for websites but this may change. In class we discussed how websites would start charging users. In this article Gerould Kern, the editor, said they “will begin to charge in a selective way.” The news come after a rival paper, the Chicago sun-times, has started charging users.
Reduce Costs and Increasing Income
The article also talks about ways the company has been trying to reduce costs and boost income. To reduce costs they have been making job cuts. This has been a topic I have touched in many of my communication classes. We talked in class about how they would charge, perhaps a monthly charge or by page viewed. In the article they gave example figures from their sister publication the Baltimore sun. Users can pay either $2.49 per week or $49.99 for six months.
To my Surprise
One thing that surprised me about this article was that Kern said advertisement revenue was decreasing. With more and more people seeking the internet to get their news I thought this may have been on the rise. He said it “now makes up only about 65 percent to 75 percent.” It used to make 80 percent. His reason for this change was that advertising companies have more choices with regards to where and how they advertise.
It’s important for Journalism and communication students because no matter what type of media industry we decide to work in, the Internet is going to be a big part of it. Even with regards to keeping up to date with news, as online users we will have to start paying for a majority of online sources in years to come.
A related article I found was on the BBC website. It is titled “Murdoch signals end of free news.” There are a lot of comments made by Rupert Murdoch but one that stood out to me the most was: “quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting.” I think this sums up online media right now. So far almost all online news has been free to anyone with access to the internet and with news papers and news stations sharing almost all their content online they have been offering readers the chance to pay for news or get it for free.
The article covers an international perspective speaking about how different news organizations across the globe have been looking at tackling the problem of charging users while keeping visiting numbers high.