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HA HA YOU PAY FOR NEWS! HA HA!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    In another thread, I posted about the plague that is the human inability to estimate value.

    This week, the New York Times, the Gray Lady, the Paper of Record for the United States of America, put up what lots of people are calling a "paywall." I hesitate to call it this because it's an inherently pejorative term. We don't call the things in front of the movie theaters or the airplanes "paywalls" even though you have to pay to go through.

    Anyway, this is a little different than previous attempts to do something like this. First of all, you don't get asked for payment until you've read 20 articles in a month. Second, there are liberal limits for viewing articles linked from websites like Fark or Slashdot or Google or, presumably, TiB. Third, it's ridiculously easy to bypass with a NoScript tweak or by selectively disabling JavaScript. Nobody knows quite why it's so easy to bypass - there is rampant speculation that it's because the NYT is really trying an "honor system" approach, where rich grandmas with lots of disposable income and very little computer knowledge will pay, and teenagers and twentysomethings will still read the NYT for free and feel really, really smug about how they have "beaten the man."

    The NYT is also being soundly browbeaten across the Internet for supposedly spending $40M on this project. The source of this figure is a single Bloomberg article which does not source it and does not seem to be corroborated anywhere. I personally think there's a 50/50 chance this figure is bullshit or at least wildly misrepresentative.

    If I do a Google search on "nyt paywall '40 million'" I get pages and pages of absolute jawdroppingly retarded speculation on how it cost $40M without a single additional shred of data to back it up.

    It's amazing that nobody seems to be able to resolve this mystery. Hey, you know what would be awesome? We should invent a profession with people that go out and investigate things that don't quite seem to add up, and writes down the real story in a journal. We could call them...JOURNALISTS. FUCKING EH EVERY DAY I GET UP IT'S LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!

    In my fantasy world, the NYT planted that figure in the Bloomberg report so it would get spread all over the Internet like this as a demonstration that the Internet and the "blogosphere" are utterly fucking impotent at anything resembling journalism that requires you to leave the house. Sadly, that is just a fantasy.

    The standard freetard wharrgarbl about this goes as follows:

    • The NYT is the epitome of the mainstream media and it does shitty journalism anyway so why should anybody pay for it?
    • One time the NYT was wrong about this one thing and so I can no longer trust it and they will never get a dime from me!
    • The paywall is so easy to get around! Ha ha those NYT guys are fucking idiots. $40 million ha ha what dumbasses. They must be the dumbest people in the galaxy. Maybe the universe. Ha ha ha ha fuck the NYT!
    • The NYT is in the pocket of big government and big corporations. It is terrible and they deserve to die. WHERE IS THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE????
    • The blogosphere does reporting better than any mainstream media source. I mean, it's not like one blog does it. If you search through 40 million shit blogs, you will find one that did a better investigative report on something than the NYT. Look, here is one where a bunch of vegans went and found milk products in many popular vegan restaurants! YAY INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IS SAVED BY BLOGS! WE ARE FREE OF THE MSM MANACLES!
    • Why don't they just sell moar ads? Ha ha they must have the dumbest fucking marketing department in history!

    Just re-reading the above makes me want to kick people in the fucking nuts.

    Sadly, I am not optimistic for the Times and their paywall. I hope people pay up, but they probably won't - at least in large numbers. I certainly won't be paying up, because using a Dixie cup to bail out the Titanic is just a waste of energy.

    People undervalue good journalism. They also can't tell the difference between good journalism and bad journalism - and since bad journalism is orders of magnitude cheaper, even the vaunted NYT gets caught up in doing it from time to time. No, the Internet is the catalyst of the death of the Fourth Estate. Goodbye, we hardly knew ye. I live only with the solace that when society goes to shit, I won't be scratching my head wondering 'why' like most of the freetard population.

    FOCUS: Journalism in the age of the Internet. Will the blogs save us, or are we doomed?
     
  2. NotaPharmacist

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    Argle bargle argle bargle news, good journalism.

    Print journalism is one aspect of a big ol' mess of reportage. And it's tough to argue with a paywall in some respects. But the "blog" in journalism is kind of a very small point, as compared to the commercial appeal of news in general. It's why TV is easier to look at.

    If you watch the nightly news on one of the big three, like NBC with Brian Williams, you'll notice that there are a lot of commercials that target old people. That's not shocking, because old people keep the ratings high (as they can be). That's the case with most network news shows. Contrast that with cable networks (all of them, regardless of slant) in the U.S., and you'll see more "blog-like" attitudes with a heavy dose of lurid or attention-grabbing stories.

    Neither group really practices investigative journalism (nor do most newspapers, really). And there's a reason: investigative journalism is a hugely expensive prospect. You're paying a team of reporters for years in some cases, all for maybe 100,000 words. That's one small book.

    Both TV and print journalism, as well as internet sites and their various takes on the idea are all signs of one big thing: journalism used to be the way for the city's richest people to become more prestigious. Sulzberger, Hearst, Weymouth's family at the Post, Murdoch, etc. They would pay for the prestige, and the ability to hobnob with the people that cared about what was said in newspapers. For TV networks, they got big ratings because not many people had very many choices in how they got their news. Two newspapers, maybe three TV stations. That was it. So controlling the message was big, and now it's not because of the variety. So the monetary value for owning these places and bankrolling what are now loss leaders is effectively zip.

    And There really is no monetary value for the consumer in most investigative journalism, because it rarely affects people in large order. And there's no monetary value in all except maybe three or four newspapers/magazines/whatever like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and maybe the Guardian for rich people to say, "Ohhhh, this is mine."

    That's not going to change any time soon.

    tl;dr: journalism operated well when it was centralized. rich people bankrolled it past the age where it lost profitability. No updated business model since the decline due to proliferation.
     
  3. Rush-O-Matic

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    Our small town newspaper's website (greater metro area is about 200,000 people) experimented with something a few months ago. I don't what you call it - it was basically a free paywall. You had to sign up and log in to read their website, but it didn't cost anything. Their website received so much less traffic, they dropped it and went back to the old way.

    The newspaper is owned by a larger corporation that owns several, and the website is mytown.com, and they also own two local radio and tv stations. I'm not sure how else small newspapers survive. If it weren't for legal ads that are required to be published (and paid for) by law, I'd think they would just fade away.
     
  4. Nettdata

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    Murdoch has already tried this model in the UK last year, and saw online users drop to a third of what they were, and he lost about half of his advertisers.

    Not sure what the numbers are like now, but it seems that the UK was the testbed for the NYT pay wall.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-16/murdoch-banks-on-rooney-hooker-cricket-bribes-to-push-newspaper-paywalls.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-1 ... walls.html</a>
     
  5. Limes

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    I remember reading the comments section on an article about that. Someone pointed out that we already have to pay the BBC licence fee which covers their news reporting. Why should we be prepared to pay for another?

    So in countries where you don’t have to pay a licence fee it may not be quite the same.
     
  6. Crown Royal

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    If it comes to a point where we have to depend on an inept, two-faced liar like Matt Drudge we may as well throw ourselves into the sea. It makes me sick to my stomach that assholes like him line their pockets with the fruits of sensationalism.

    Internet news is unreliaBle propaganda. READ A FUCKING NEWSPAPER, PEOPLE.
     
  7. Nettdata

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    You honestly think that the newspaper has better reporting/news in it than the Internet? Internet is a delivery mechanism, not a specific source. Same goes for a newspaper.

     
  8. Juice

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    The problem with the Internet is people can go seek out whatever "news" outlet fits their viewpoint, and thus it becomes truth. Hate George Bush? You'll probably enjoy getting your news from the Daily Kos. Hate Obama? You'll probably get it from World Net Daily. Less fringe news outlets still have their (less obvious) perspectives. The only real way to get actual news is putting them all together and see if you can decipher it yourself. Fox News and MSNBC can both pretend all they want that they're not pushing perspectives, but that's the way it is nowadays. It's most apparent on the Internet, but exists in all mediums from paper to digital.
     
  9. Solaris

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    There's definitely something to be said for getting your news from a broad range of view points. However that most certainly does not mean you should spend an hour each week watching Glenn Beck to 'balance out' the fact that usually you watch some 'liberal' news channel.

    Personally I love the way the media is developing. Thanks to social media sites (FB and Reddit) I feel I'm connected to stories that I otherwise would never have heard about. I read a lot of high quality blog sites and still read the Guardian in physical form every other day or so.

    Christopher Hitchens once said "I became a journalist so I didn't have to rely on other people to tell me what the news is". Well now thanks to the internet it's pretty easy to find out what's going on. At the click of a button I can find out the communist party line on the western intervention in Libya, and then go to the economist or whatever to see what Mr. Harvard PhD has to say about it.

    More often than not I side with the latter, but those Marxists do sometimes give you some back story that others would have you forget.

    I'm not really sure what point I'm trying to make here, but I'll be fucked if I ever pay for the New York Times.
     
  10. Nettdata

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    I think more than anything the current variety of news sources, whether they be traditional or online, is forcing the end-user to actually think about the source and interpret events. (At least the intelligent ones).

    I'm sure people did something similar 50 years ago, but they were limited in their sources so it wasn't as complicated.

    Now, you can go and follow the same story on multiple world-wide sources. Like the Japanese nuclear issue. You can watch the moronic Nancy Grace argue science with a scientist, then watch the BBC coverage, then Al Jazeera, then whatever other news source like CBC, MSNBC, FOX, etc., and see different points of views from all of them.

    They all have their own spin, and you can draw your own conclusions from them.

    But as Solaris mentioned, the really interesting part is the local, individual "reporting" being done via twitter, blogs, and other non-mainstream sources. Sure, they can be just as skewed and have just as warped agendas, but you can also hit first-person accounts of shit as it happens.

    That is really, really interesting to me.
     
  11. Misanthropic

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    I admit it - I still get the newspaper delivered to my home daily.

    The biggest issues I have with getting my news from independent online news sources is as follows: most of the articles that I read in periodicals, be it the NYT, my local paper, or the Economist, still take the form of legitimate articles, presenting news in the "Who, What, Where, When, and Why" format.

    I get plenty of news and information online, mostly from Sites that are related to sources I know (NYT, my local paper, or the Economist), or that get their articles from established organizations (AP, Reuters, etc.) Nearly all of the independent "news" I find on the web would fall under the "editorial" heading - opinion pieces, with little attempt at verifiable facts to back them up. This is what blogs are, by definition. They aren't news, and most don't pretend to be news, but diary entries that the rest of us are privileged to see.
     
  12. NotaPharmacist

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    That's not quite accurate. Blogs from the big TV news shows and major newspapers also serve an additional purpose. For example, NYT bloggers may be able to get a story up quicker that's about 70% close to completion that serves a need because it's "breaking." They also do reporting, but this allows them to get the majority of the story up, get more sources (potentially), and then get it smoothed out in time for layout/production the next day. This is common with alternative weeklies (Village Voice in NYC, San Francisco Weekly), but also the L.A. Times, Dallas Morning News, Miami Herald, etc. And it's interesting to watch from a journalism standpoint.

    They are also very useful for providing context, again coming from major media outlets. Most network TV shows have blogs with a lot more information about whatever 2- or 3-minute show than what they could put into the broadcast.

    For an example of a good blog that does original reporting, check here: <a class="postlink" href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/</a>

    He's a former Washington Post reporter who covers the lower levels of the Republican/Tea Party from a fairly unbiased viewpoint. It's very much a blog, and very much not really a diary.
     
  13. Nettdata

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    I find that the most accurate, current, and detailed reporting in the technical world is done in the form of Blogs.

    These are anything but what you've described, and are usually excellent resources to learn from. The better ones also tend to spark some excellent discussions.

    They're not all soccer mom's bitching about how the radiation from local wifi's is melting their precious child's brain.
     
  14. Politik

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    I have never agreed with you more on anything, ever. There's a reason why Harvard and Yale advertise in the ads section.
     
  15. BL1Y

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    [​IMG]

    I think the term blog has outlasted its usefulness and now just serves to confuse issues.

    Livejournal, that's a fucking blog.

    A website where a white shoe law firm posts substantive news and analysis on recent legal goings on, that's not a fucking "web log." It might be running on Wordpress, but it's a very different animal than Joe Sixpack ranting about Barack Osama in half-completed sentences.

    The existence of too many idiot bloggers in general discredits the more serious, intellectual types. People don't want to admit they read an intriguing argument "on a blog" because their friends and family will respond by rolling their eyes. Same way many people don't want to say they heard a news story on Fox (they do actually have some legit reporting, ...for about 30 minutes a day) because people will assume they're listening to one of the many frothing heads.

    We need a whole new set of vocabulary for both mainstream news media, and the new internet and independent stuff. Showing YouTube clips of cute kittens should not be worthy of the name "news" just as the folks giving frequent, first hand accounts of Middle Eastern uprisings should get a title better than "blogger."
     
  16. NotaPharmacist

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    No, we do not need a new set of vocabulary. You know how many newspapers are fucking worthless? Tons. The New York Post: worthless. A lot of the Chicago papers these days: horrible. Across the pond, the Daily Mail is a conservative Huffington Post with really great headline writers. You know why no one worries about it? Because the medium doesn't matter nearly as much as the message. No one gives a shit if it's from a blog, a newspaper, a TV show or anything else. People understand quality sources.

    If Simpson Thacher (to take a white shoe NYC firm) runs a blog, no one's going to fault you for citing it. Why? Because you're going to say, "Oh, I got it from Simpson Thacher." Oh, cool. Done.

    Same thing with Gawker for celeb BS, Engadget for popular tech news, Salon and Mother Jones for liberal takes on news, etc. It's a budding medium, but the name cachet is still there. FFS, Cracked is one of the top humor websites and has that going for it. But you know them by name, just like you know newspapers by name. That's not going to change.
     
  17. Disgustipated

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    I was at a CLE on Monday where they had a guy delivering a section who's been an editor, sub-editor, radio shock jock and public relations manager to a state premier (the equivalent of a governor). For those playing at home, the premier was Jeff Kennett.

    He was giving an insight on how to deal with the media for lawyers. It was a lot of stuff I'd already covered in other areas, but he was entertaining so I paid attention. He commented that journalists are evolving because of pressure to perform with time and content. Journalists are now having to work quicker to get the scoop because any fool with a phone and a computer can blog it before they can go to print. Plus, they're now being expected to write for the web themselves, and write more, on shorter deadlines. He said that that is contributing to lazy journalism where content is stretching and editorialising is barging in.

    Added to that, he said to get closer to the front of the newspaper (and attain some sort of job security) they had to align themselves with the particular leanings of the editorial staff; which ultimately contributed to an opinionated rag.

    I've had experience dealing with journalists in papers, magazines, radio and television. I've yet to have a fair experience with a mainstream newspaper, except for one isolated occurrence where I approached a business editor about a story. Any time I've been contacted by a journalist, they've gone out of their way to skew the information given.

    Television, albeit only one interview, was the same but I think that was because I wasn't giving them anything "sensational" (and had no intentions of doing that, either).

    The radio and magazine were fair and balanced, but they occupied non-mainstream bases. The radio was for a national, public broadcaster (ABC) who had nothing to gain from being anything but impartial - so they were. The magazine was the Business Review Weekly, which isn't read by the average punter, and likewise had nothing to gain from falling into a sensationalism trap.

    Too many take what they read in a newspaper, see on tv, read on the net or hear on the radio as being the gospel truth. Simply repeating false information shouldn't give it credibility, but it seems to be the way things go.