Newspapers are struggling to survive in an age where free and rapid information-sharing threatens the value newspapers once had. Many people (myself included) wonder why we should pay for local news delivered the day after it happens when we can get far more current (and varied) views as it happens.
This self-identity crisis is even more apparent because newspapers charge money for a subscription to have the news delivered to your house the next day… but they post it for free online for everyone to see as it gets written. In other words, the newspaper industry is an industry where people pay to get inferior service compared to those who don’t pay!
Recently, the New York Times introduced (more accurately: re-introduced) a paygate where internet users can view up to 20 articles per month for free but will have to pay after that. Read the Nieman Journalism Lab article about it here: The Newsonomics of The New York Times’ pay fence » Nieman Journalism Lab » Pushing to the Future of Journalism. In particular, pay attention to the seven tests that the writer outlines, which will determine the success of this paygate attempt and will guide the way for the NYT to survive (and even thrive) in the future.
You might want to also read a blog post I wrote last year about my thoughts on how newspapers can survive in today’s marketplace.