Notes on the news business in a digital wasteland

Members of the news media love to report on the media, and I am no different.

Members of the news media love to report on the media, and I am no different.

On this front, one of the most intriguing developments to watch in 2011 is how magazines, newspapers, and so on seep into smartphones, e-readers and computer tablets, and how a revenue generating effort at The New York Times works out.

Next year News Corporation, owner of the Wall Street Journal, is set to unveil a newspaper called The Daily for Apple's iPad. If all goes well, maybe those with a love for all things tech gadgetry will pay for the editorial content. The Wall Street Journal already has an app for the iPad.

Starting next year The New York Times, arguably the world's most famous news publication, is planning to put in a place a metered pay wall of some sort for its online content. For years the paper has been giving online content away for free, but last August The New York Times Company tested the waters by charging for online content at one of its regional papers, the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, MA.

The news publication business desperately needs to generate revenue, and what happens at The New York Times is a bellwether of sorts for the entire industry. I love free content just as much as next person, but the model is unsustainable.

The morning after the San Francisco Giants won the World Series this year I ran down to the corner store to buy a newspaper emblazoned with photos and headlines of the triumph. I didn't read the articles inside, because I read them for free on the Internet beforehand.

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