Will I Pay for the Gray Lady?

This past week, the New York Times revealed its plan to charge consumers for its content. It’s continues to be an interesting time for newspaper organizations who cannot survive on advertising revenue alone. The quality of the content is what separates whether something is worth paying for or not – regardless what niche that is, be it news, education, or something else.

I  continue to have many thoughts about blogging. These thoughts or dilemas were summed up nicely in an article by Jonathan Martin, a head of school in AZ. Titled, “Dilemas and Tensions of Blogging: Learning From Montaigne“. He identifies the following as two dilemas that stand out:

  • “the tension of publishing “polished,” pretty, and beautifully composed pieces meant for wide public consumption vs. writing off the top of my head, providing transparent “think-out-loud” pieces sharing what is very much a thinking work in progress.
  • the competing values of modesty and humility in expression vs. the desire to take strong and vigorous positions on issues of educational best practice.”

I don’t get paid for blogging. I do it for many of the reasons Martin lists in his article: “Why I Blog: A Principal’s 13 Reasons“. I don’t have editors, and sometimes when I go and re-read an older post I wrote, I wish  I did. If you want quality journalism, the reporters and writers who do it for a living, need to be paid. The reason why Wikipedia works, is because it is simply a collection (for the most part) of facts. It lacks analysis, evaluation, and quality writing – something I’d be willing to pay for.

The NYTimes metered pay-wall model is an interesting one, though. Can a digital subscription be shared in a household like a physical paper? Is the app version of the content going to be so superior to the website, that it’s worth $240 more a year to read it on my phone and tablet via an app? Then there’s the dilema of subscribing to the paper edition, which for new subscribers, is offered at 50% off the newsstand price for the first 12 weeks. The paper subscription will give you full access to any form of the digital content including the app versions. If you only subscribe to the M-F edition, it actually works out to just about $15 a month, same as the basic digital plan. You end up with the app versions for less, but you also end up with a lot of paper to recycle each week (at least for the first 12 weeks). I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m interested in how this will play out.

For those who read my blog, thanks for putting up with the flaws in my writing and opinions. I’m just happy you visited.