Thursday, February 23, 2012

Will You Subscribe to the Enquirer's Paywall?

The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting on itself today and confirms that it, along with all of Parent Company Gannett's regional newspapers, will adopt a Paywall model for its website by the end of the year. The paper indicates it will use a subscription model similar to the New York Times, which allows for a limited number of free articles per month.

Needless to say this will send some into a tizzy. Not me. I have no problem with the Enquirer doing this. We as a public have long been coddled by having free news websites. It costs money to gather and write news articles. Sure, I wish the Enquirer did a better job of doing that, but that does not make the economics of reality go away. So I really hope the complainers get it out of their systems quickly. I for one will not be forgiving when anyone complains about having to pay for news. I also will challenge them to find a more comphensive source for local news in Cincinnati. If all you want is national news, you had 1,000 better sources than the Enquir anyway.

There are several things I believe the Enquirer must do in order to make this work:
1. Create more local content. Laying off more reporters is not the way to go. Some more hires better be in their future.
2. Don't rehash national Gannett content behind the Paywall. If I am going to pay for something it needs to be unique, so make the news local or at least by local reporters.
3. Bring back some opinion. Commentary is not evil, it just needs to be smart and not anything like Peter Bronson.
4. Make the archives free for online subscribers. If I am going to pay for content, I want to be able to read it now or three years from now. It should be retroactive too. I'd personally pay a slight premium for this, but not an arm and a leg.
5. Make it cheaper than the New York Times. The NYT may be able to make up the difference in volume, but you can't consider the value of the Enquirer to be more, let alone the same, as the Times.
6. iPad App: I believe this is in the works, but it can't come soon enough.
7. Make it easy. Don't have 12 price levels, a few is enough. Also allow access from all online tools: PC, Tablet & Phone.


What ever it looks like, I will subscribe. I am a news junkie and need the fix. I hope I like the high it gives me.

9 comments:

  1. Go to Citybeat or Metromix for news. Its a lot more unbiased. If the Enquirer actually had unbiased decent reporting I could see paying for it, but in its current model, there is absolutely no way....

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  2. Yes, I will pay to access content from the Cincinnati Enquirer. I have actually said a couple of times that they should have made a shift of this nature years ago, but alas.

    It needs to be simple. I want to pay a one-time rate and get access to the things I want. I don't want to be constantly hassled, or if I am, it better be simple like iTunes where I could do a one-click purchase through a registered account to "buy" stories on an individual basis.

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  3. You have articulated my own thoughts quite nicely. I will probably pay no matter what but I hope for an upgrade in local coverage. Another nice addition would be easily navigable databases of local, newsworthy information - the city budget for example. Cincinnati.com could position itself as the premium source of all local information, not just breaking news.

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  4. The price is going to be really important. I subscribed to the Business Courier recently & I find stuff on the site daily which is something I cannot say for the Enquirer. It's written better. Heck, they broke the story about Gannett.....
    Osborne's investigative stuff usually smokes the Enquirer but the Enquirer smokes the TV stations completely. Radio? HA
    The worst thing about the Enquirer is it's state coverage but a lot of locals don't seem to care, so...

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  5. I've been wrestling over whether or not I should stop visiting the Enquirer's website for some time now. The full-page ads for Furniture Fair and the header ads that cause the entire front page to scroll around are quite annoying nuisances. If I were to pay to visit, I would demand that these are done away with in favor of simple Google text ads. In reality, this will probably cause me to stop reading the Enquirer altogether (and stop contributing my LTE's as well).

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  6. I said it before, local papers need to get hyper local. Expand the sports section too.

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  7. I have a number of questions that I'll need to find the answer to before I'll decide to subscribe. Among them:

    - will the quality of LOCAL coverage improve behind the paywall? Or will they just fill it with more wire stories from other gannett properties or the AP while continuing to lay off local reporters?

    - will subscribers still be subjected to obnoxiously obtrusive ads for Furniture Fair et al.? Will they fix the 'don't show this again' micro button that never seems to work so that it will obey your wishes?

    - will they pay the local bloggers that they have been including as part of their site? Or will they continue to use their headlines under their current arrangement? (That's assuming bloggers aren't already collecting anything besides extra traffic from cincnnati.com)

    - Will subscribers be allowed to comment using their subscription account instead of their facebook accounts? I don't comment now because I don't want the sociopaths who frequent the comment sections to find out anything more about me than what they can figure out from a user name. While the FB authentication was supposed to increase accountability and civility by publishing your name, it seems to have failed on both accounts. By using your subscription information, they should have at least as much accurate information as they would get from FB plus a credit card number and a verifiable address.

    I'm not against paying for decent news coverage and have purchased subscriptions in the past. However, right now, the Enquirer only occasionally rises to the level of 'decent' news coverage.

    And yes, like 5chw4r7z, I demand that they expand the sports section. :D

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    Replies
    1. The LOL bloggers do get paid, I think its only beer money but its still something.
      And I can't see LOL and not think laugh out loud.

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  8. The editor chick spoke up but didn't address many of the issues people have raised & certainly haven't replied to any comments there.
    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20120224/EDIT/302240070

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