Sunday, November 11, 2012

News in the Online Age

Some time back, the local paper here, the Billings Gazette, decided that it was going to start limiting online access to its website to people who were not subscribers to the paper. It's not the first paper to do this; the New York Times announced a similar plan earlier this year. Naturally there are typically ways around these firewalls. I understand that this is a turbulent time for newspapers, but this seems exactly the wrong way to deal with the problem. As a result of the Gazette's actions, I am not purchasing a digital or hardcopy subscription. I am just getting my local news elsewhere. With no disrespect to the people that work there, the Gazette just isn't that good of a paper. It does a perfectly serviceable job, but it's just not good enough to part from me $69.50 for a one-year digital subscription.

Again, I understand that it's hard out there for old-school journalism, but this is not the way to save it. The Gazette is no doubt counting on the fact that it is the only daily newspaper in the area right now. But counting on that is no way to ensure a successful future. They need to get a lot more creative than just limiting online access to meet this challenge.

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