The local daily fishwrap has decided to put its stories behind a paywall. I can now cough up $150+ a year for coverage of the city council’s decision on whether or not to buy a downtown parking lot to reroute a street that’s been taken over by the state, local car crashes, domestic violence arrests and burglaries, the neighboring town’s budget squabbles, plus a whole pile of cut-and-paste from AP and other national wires.
Or not. That’s more than I would pay for a personal subscription to various learned journals, to the WSJ, even to the unlamented New York Times Select. So what the hell? On an average weekday, I click on maybe three or four stories. Are they worth 25 cents each to me, day in, day out?
From the newspaper’s point of view I can see it — pretty clearly no one except the crazy commenters is reading the web version, so it’s not supported by ad revenue. (I have no idea how few people are reading the print version, but it’s not a big town in the first place.) So they might as well price high and milk the diehards they have.
And for me: other than going down to city council meetings hanging around city hall, dropping by the police department every day, there is No. Effing. Other. Way. I can find out what’s going on in my town. So I pretty much get to pay a huge premium over the going rate for text I want to read, or choose to be uninformed. I’m not even sure if there is anywhere you can just walk in and but a copy.