Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Okay, I'm reading Howie Kurtz's Media Notes and notice this:

The column you are reading right now is free of charge.


And therein lies a problem. ...

This is a sensitive issue for The Post because circulation, while still a healthy 700,000, has been declining in recent years. Circulation goes up and down for a variety of reasons, but the fact that anyone can read any Post story online without paying a nickel has got to be up there. The reason you should care is that advertising revenue from the paper version is what supports this infrastructure of reporters, editors, columnists, photographers, graphic artists and others who make The Post what it is. If that's eroded, the quality of the paper's journalism will eventually suffer, and what you see online will suffer as well. (Obviously washingtonpost.com also has a number of Web-only features, including Media Notes, and generates some of its own ad dollars.)

Umm, excuse me. Aren't newspapers supported by MOSTLY ad revenue? Aren't subscriptions just the icing on the cake? Aren't ad revenue generated by the sheer number of eyes on that? Wouldn't it make sense that FREE views would generate more eyes? THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX HOWIE!

Look, the internet provides MUCH better tracking than the newspaper ever could. Maybe therein lies the problem Howie. Maybe, the newspaper wasn't as effective an advertising outlet as one supposes and having this trackability (is that a word) SHOWS how ineffective news is as an advertising outlet, as opposed to the Super Bowl.

What I fear more than this potential loss of revenue for newspapers, is that newspapers would be more beholden to corporations than the public, ending up with more versions of Fox News than a Washington Post.

Filed under Ms. Cell Annie.


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