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Washington Post To Go Paywall, Along With Buffett-Owned Local Papers 163

McGruber writes "The Washington Post reports that the Washington Post, and local newspapers owned by Warren Buffett, are all planning to follow the New York Times and install metered paywalls." Buffett's got more than 80 papers right now, and hasn't quit buying them. There's some time to read the WaPo sans paywall, but by mid-year it may be up.
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Washington Post To Go Paywall, Along With Buffett-Owned Local Papers

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  • by ThatsMyNick ( 2004126 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:41PM (#42221735)

    While we are at it, is there a slashdot option for hiding summaries with paywalled sites?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @08:52PM (#42221837)

    Tons of people. Since most of them have left their parent's basement you probably wouldn't understand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:25PM (#42222121)

    So the King of spreading the wealth (Mr. Tax Me More) has no problem with giving away other people's money, but when it comes to his own things, he doesn't want to give them away? Say it ain't so!

  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:33PM (#42222771)

    I have a paper.

    I charge for subscriptions, but it really doesn't cover the cost of printing and delivery. I get most of my revenue for Ads.

    The more people that read my paper, the more people want to advertise with me and the more I can charge.

    Then came this internet thingy. I can put my paper on line and now people throughout the world will see my content and my ads.

    Put these mean people are linking directly to my news stories so they don't see the front page. I don't know why, but that pisses me off.

    So I'm going to start charging people to see my Ads on the interweb thingy. That'll show them.

  • by schnell ( 163007 ) <me@sch n e l l . net> on Saturday December 08, 2012 @01:38AM (#42223283) Homepage

    Winners: trees. Losers: senile billionaires.

    Also losers: the American public.

    You know how news is, like, free on the Interwebs? It's because somebody (not you) is paying for actual, trained reporters to investigate issues and write things. In this case it's the media outlets who pay for and contribute content to AP/UPI/etc. This whole arrangement was created a century ago so that a newspaper in Cleveland for example wouldn't have to send a reporter to Washington DC for politics, to New York for financial news, etc. It was a collective action among these newspapers to share costs so they could offer their local readers with national/international news coverage while paying a fraction of the price. AP/UPI wire coverage news would be the same in every newspaper basically... but local readers (and advertisers!) would choose based on the quality of the stories and value a LOCAL newspaper provides to LOCAL readers. So far so good.

    But then come the Interwebs. Newspapers are used to the ad-driven model so they figure they can still pay for their local reporters and AP/UPI content through a mix of paper subscriptions (and ad rates), then put their newspaper online for free. Not so much, since online ads pay a heck of a lot less than print ads do. And the classified ads and local advertising that have effectively subsidized the business of paying actual reporters for decades have largely vanished to Internet advertising houses like Google with better localization algorithms and more pervasive user tracking. So what you end up with is newspapers trying to pay for the old style of journalism with a mix of declining print revenues (which could pay the bills) and online revenues (which aren't enough to pay the bills).

    Far more damaging to newspapers: businesses like Breitbart, NewsMax, etc. that do no original reporting themselves (or at least none of value) just pay the wire service fees and are actually able to squeak by on online ad revenues, unlike the newspapers that pay for actual reporters and contribute net new content. End result: nearly all newspapers are in decline, and many if not most will go down the drain. So eventually there will be just one or two syndicated wire services and every news outlet will reprint exactly the same content, and the market for local investigative journalism will pretty much dry up since the AP wouldn't pay a reporter to spend three months exposing local corruption in the Fargo North Dakota mayor's office... whereas a Fargo newspaper might, if there still were one.

    The kinda sorta flip side is that quality newspapers (or blogs or whatever) will win... once there is no "free lunch" on news, pretty much all news will have to be for-pay again. That will suck for those of us who currently don't pay for news, but the surviving outlets will have to distinguish themselves on the quality of their local or specialty reporting. Personally, I read the Washington Post online each day for free but probably wouldn't pay for it... I do however pay for a subscription to The Economist that I read on my Kindle (and throw out the weekly paper version). Maybe this is good in that in the future - after free commoditized news is dead - all news outlets will need to make their content good enough for users to be willing to pay for.

    P.S. Please do not give me this "we don't need reporters or LAMESTREAM MEDIA anymore because of bloggers" BS because the world needs organizations that will actually vouch for the work of their reporters (against the threat of expensive libel suits) and provide some seal of QA on the veracity of reportage. Imagine a world where the only sources of news are a million different jackass versions of The Drudge Report or The Huffington Post... except with no "real" news to link to.

  • by Celarent Darii ( 1561999 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:41AM (#42224009)
    What you say would be true, but the fact is that newspapers don't really do any reporting now. Most news is actually just another way to advertise a new product or editorialize on some topic. Outlets like FoxNews are really just entertainment masquerading as news. The same could be said of all the major 24-hour news stations and weekly papers. I would gladly pay for a magazine, even online, if they actually did some reporting and not simply copy the Reuters feeds. Even look at the newspapers on any given day, they are reporting the exact same events, even with the same clichés.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.