I've been away for awhile. And, away from blogging. Back now with updates on some things we've been covering.
The Ongoing Story of Newspapers
This yesterday from the Journal Inquirer (lifted fully from the paper, for reasons you'll understand as you read):
JI announces changes to Web site
By Journal Inquirer Staff
“As with most newspapers,” JI Publisher Elizabeth S. Ellis said today, “advertising on our Internet site has not yet begun to pay anything close to the expense of providing the news to our readers, even as providing the news on the Internet for free threatens to erode the paid circulation that does support the paper.
Some material at the JI’s Internet site will remain available without charge, including the photo galleries and video presentations. But to gain access to most of the material copied onto the JI’s Internet site from the newspaper’s printed editions, readers will have to subscribe to the printed product and use a log-on and password code provided to them by the newspaper or else use a credit card to pay a fee determined by the length of access they wish to purchase.
Following this transition, the paper is planning to add exclusive features to its Internet site, including reader blogs.
The JI becomes the latest to drastically change it's business model to deal with the economic reality of newspapers. I lifted this from their site, because I worried about a link not working for you in the near future. We've also developed a good relationship with Doug Hardy, JI reporter (and husband of CT Newsjunkie's Christine Stuart) who's been trying to get other outlets to share JI content (while giving full credit to the paper). His note on Facebook tells his side of the story:
Doug Hardy Interesting to see people's comments about the JI's announcement today that it's switching to paid content online. Plenty of freeloaders out there. It really goes to show you that when you give something away for free, people place less value on it. What a terrible mistake it was for newspapers to give news away for free online. The combination of a free Web site and a for-profit print publication simply doesn't mix. The model is failing everywhere because it's really not one model -- it's two models competing against each other.
I can understand the value of online-only publications that start that way and generate both reader support through donations and other sponsorships. There's no overhead to be concerned with and you can grow your staff through a solid, lean business plan.
But it just never has made sense for a newspaper to give its work away for free and still expect to generate the necessary revenue to pay the people who gather the news.
Controversial Football Coach Out
Jack Cochran, the man at the center of many high school sporting disputes, has finally been let go at New London High School. His tendency to "run up the score" on opponents led to a nationally mocked (but locally applauded) rule in Connecticut that keeps teams from winning by more than 50 points - or face sanctions. I reported on this for NPR in 2006. It seems, though, that he's not going down easily.
Insert Better Headline Here
Favorite New London Day reporter/blogger Ted Mann listens to Where We Live, and wrote about Jim Amann's appearance on the show Monday. Turns out, the gubernatorial candidate hasn't filed his elections enforcement fundraising papers on time. Ted's clever headline: "Private Amann Fails to Report."