I knew it would happen sooner or later.
I would begin to pay for online access to news.
As I've mentioned before, I am more or less an online news junkie. I read perhaps a dozen different newspapers online every day, and the Internet has provided the news I read for free, aside from the cost of having the Internet itself available.
Back in the summer of 2009 I wrote a column that was headlined "Paying for online news is only fair." Although newspapers, except a very few, have continued to provide "free news" to the world, I think they have a right _ if they want to _ to ask for payment for the service that they provide.
Now, in reality, most newspapers that publish news online make some money by showing advertisements with the news articles, just like they do in their paper-based distribution systems. So, it's not like they are getting absolutely nothing from their online readers.
But the amount of income from online ads has always been much less than that from ink-and-paper-based ads. And newspapers in general are not doing as well as they did in the old days. By "old days," I mean before the Internet, and "new media" changed the world.
However, the costs of providing the professional news content to fill up those newspapers has not dwindled, as has the revenue coming into the news business.
So, if we want to continue to get good quality news reports, we readers have to expect to contribute to the cause. After all, newspapers, at least the great majority of them, are businesses that have to make a profit for their owners. It's simple. No profit, no newspapers. At least, no good ones.
And remember, every time you pick up a newspaper at the newsstand, you're leaving some spare change there anyway, right?
Therefore, I have decided this: if I want to read an online paper, and if the paper asks me to support it by subscribing, and if I perceive that the value of its news is worth the amount of money that the paper asks for, then I will do it.
Of course, if all the online papers start charging, I may have to reduce my news-gobbling appetite to some degree. After all, I am an old retired guy, and money doesn't grow on trees, as they say.
And remember, I am weighing the asking price against the value I place on the product, so if the publishers get carried away with pricing, then they get zilch from me. This is an important concept for them to keep in mind. I know that although the cost of providing the content is high, the cost of Internet distribution is extremely low, compared to delivering newspapers.
After all this ruminating, I'm getting to the real point now. The New York Times, my all-time-favorite, most-respected newspaper, has begun to ask online readers to subscribe, and pay real money. Sort of. I guess. More or less. If you want to.
It may be a tentative request, but it is a legitimate request. It will let a reader see 20 stories a month for free, and if you get there via a link from another website, that's OK, too. You can still read the story. And, the front page is still free, as are section fronts.
It tried an online pay strategy a couple years ago, and backed off from it after a while. It looks like it may still be a little gun-shy from that effort.
Also, its pay wall has a lot of holes in it. Getting around it is childishly simple. I won't go into details about that here, but if you Google something like "hacking the New York Times pay wall," you will get about a quarter million links.
The gory details? The basic cost is $15 every four weeks. I think that's kind of high for an online subscription, but I'll go for it, just because it's the New York Times, which is the world's friend. Anybody else who wants me to be an online subscriber better be substantially below that.
So I ponied up my credit card, and now it will get my money. Good for it.
Hopefully, in the long run, good for me and everyone else who wants to read good news reporting, too.
Bruce Endries is former systems manager at The Daily Star. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/techgp.
I knew it would happen sooner or later.
Why did you serve?
Numerous local residents have spent time in service to our country in the military. Some joined out of a duty to our county, others were pressed into service through the draft, still others wanted to take advantage of the G.I. Bill. In honor of their service and Armed Forces Day on Saturday, we asked our readers why they served and what they took away from their service.Continued ...
Fitness key during pregnancy
Women have been having babies since well before time has been recorded by humans.Continued ...
Beyond the stacks: Local libraries offer everything from history to technology
The local libraries within the Four County Library System still make information available to their patrons in the traditional way -- books. They are also storehouses of local history: old photos, newspapers, genealogy records, diaries and letters.Continued ...
Romantic times at Fenimore
When one thinks of the romantic, usually one ponders wistfully the early days of a courtship and marriage.Continued ...
Prom fashions bright, blingy, different
Prom night can be one of the biggest events of a high school student's life. It is the last bash before college for many, and the memories are often recorded. That is why prom fashion is so important to high school seniors.Continued ...
- Why did you serve?
- Around The Arts
'Record Breaker' exhibit to be at Orphic Gallery
"Record Breaker," featuring the work of Greg Frederick, will open Saturday at the Orphic Gallery in Roxubry.Continued ...
Local programs help children's creativity grow
I am not a stage mom. But, the other day I ended up in the middle of a discussion with a stage dad who, for many years, has designated a great deal of his time and resources to support his teenage sonâ€™s performing career. The cry of the stage parent: chauffeuring from one rehearsal to the next, scouting costumes, building sets, selling tickets and program ads, and, of course, sitting in the audience for the entire production run. Then, without a breath, off to the next one!Continued ...
An artist label can be placed on many types of people
"You are such an artist."Continued ...
Dip your toe in the art world through Pinterest
I am a magazine ripper. I always have been. I have shoesboxes and file folders filled with decorating ideas, recipes and other miscellaneous projects. No matter how hard I've tried, I can never seem to organize or tame the scraps of inspiration floating around my house.Continued ...
Arts encompasses so much more than visual, performing, musical things
This column was due when I was in the throes of our season at The Glimmerglass Festival, when all we are thinking about is the arts -- how to make people more aware of the arts, to engage in the arts. And -- what exactly do "the arts" entail?Continued ...
- 'Record Breaker' exhibit to be at Orphic Gallery
- Music Beat
Music Industry Tips About Professional Musicians
Musicians know that every performance they play is an audition for their next engagement.Continued ...
Practice really does make perfect for professionals
Shortly after I was hired at the age of 25 to work in the Music Department at State University College at Oneonta, I played a concert for members of this community. At the end of the concert, a young audience member said to me, â€œHow many years have you been playing the cello and do you still have to practice?â€�Continued ...
Stepping on the flag, and other memories
If we are to be defined all our lives by our high school mascots, then I suppose I am a Viking. But I'm also a Panther, having transferred schools after my freshman year.Continued ...
From SUNY Oneonta to CBS Sports
Some people say the music business is failing, but I don’t agree with that point of view. Neither does Joseph Miller.Continued ...
- 12 Music Industry Tips from Joseph Miller
- Music Industry Tips About Professional Musicians
- Parenting Imperfect
I'm relieved it's not just me
For the last few years, I've been convinced that I'm just harder on things than other people are.Continued ...
A tactical error in the handoff
My kids are lucky enough to have half of their grandparents within a three-hour drive.Continued ...
A potentially quiet afternoon interrupted by a dog and a balloon
The kids spent most of Martin Luther King Jr. Day bickering.Continued ...
The dog is a getting to be an expert at training
This sentence took 20 minutes to type.Continued ...
Bad things can happen when trends are no longer trendy
When I was a kid, it used to drive me bonkers that my mom didn't know anything about the most important things in my world. She had no idea what a friendship pin was or how you'd make one. She couldn't name any good band, i.e., the ones a pre-teen would listen to like Duran Duran or Wham. And she didn't find Robert Downey Jr. nearly as dreamy as I did.Continued ...
- I'm relieved it's not just me
- Senior scene
Looking Back: A sad ending for adorable, sweet Taffy-toes
Another unwanted drop-off? Yes and so I must write this.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: Dealing with side effect of pills can really be a pain
At age 76, I find myself incontinent. Actually the problem started well before that date but now it has gone beyond "a problem," to "holy smoke the dam broke."Continued ...
- From the Office: Try spring cleaning, organizing for stress release
Looking Back: Take your time, think ahead before making decisions
A lifetime may seem forever for some, especially when we were young and couldn't wait to grow up and get to do all things we saw the adults do. Come to think of it, perhaps that wasn't too good.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: Getting sick in the southern sun
I went and did it - I have heard about southern hospitality so much that I thought I would see if it extended to the hospitals as well.Continued ...
- Looking Back: A sad ending for adorable, sweet Taffy-toes
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
On the Go: Patriotism doesn't mean keeping status quo
I've been labeled many things, but when anti-American and unpatriotic came into the picture recently I was surprised. I know I have some controversial opinions, but since when does that equate to not loving America? I'm a born and raised American kid, and I love America.Continued ...
Luhrmann brings Gatsby new life
Sure, you would think that being a college student and having finals rapidly approaching would equate to my growing anticipation for the summer and being done with my first year of college.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Only you can determine your impact
The question I am most often asked is, "What do you want to do with your life?"Continued ...
A Word of Advice: Just do something
If you're not going upward, the only direction you can go is down. To stagnate is to surrender; to do nothing for yourself; to give up on a better day completely. If we sit around feeling good enough in all aspects of life, or just too lazy to fix them, well, as Albert Einstein put it, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."Continued ...
On the Go: Life is like the Cliff Walk
Over spring break, my family and I spent time in Newport, R.I. While we were there, we walked a path known as the Cliff Walk. This walk is nestled between some Newport mansions and some cliffs overlooking the ocean. While we were walking, my sister and I noticed how this path was a perfect metaphor for life and the journey it is.Continued ...
- On the Go: Patriotism doesn't mean keeping status quo