Blogs Not Worth Paying For?

Last month David Lazarus of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a couple of articles that just caught my attention via Mike Arrington’s Print Media Demise, Cont. Some of this stuff was so lol-funny I couldn’t help myself from making a lazy, non-journalistic post about it. Beware: free content follows.

From David’s Pay-to-play is one way to help save newspapers:

Whatever else, newspapers must demonstrate that their online content has value.

That pretty much says it right there. Demonstrate it to me if you want me to pay, or to your advertisers if you want them to pay. I don’t buy anyone’s augury about print disappearing altogether, nor that free online news outlets are loss leaders that can’t afford good journalists, but I agree with David that newspapers have let themselves fall behind in consumer valuation.

Not everyone thinks print has lost its value. Not everyone thinks at all. The following are excerpts from Two Cents: Would you pay for online news?

The real point for all folks to consider is that with a newspaper, on paper or on the Internet, there are checks and balances. With blogs you have no idea if what you are reading are facts or just somebody’s opinion. Phillip Brown, San Francisco

How can I read the news on my laptop in my bathtub? …I also get the paper for the ads. I never see the ads in the online edition. I wouldn’t pay if I didn’t get my ads. Diane Brauch, Los Altos Hills

I would not pay two cents — pun is intended — for Internet news. Neil Cashman, San Francisco

If something happens that I need to know right away, sombody will let me know. Dorothy Barnhouse, San Francisco

My morning commute by bus and BART wouldn’t be the same without my paper Chronicle. Leslie Pahl, Oakland

Yeah, there’s something nice and comforting about reading a paper. Even just holding a paper, I feel the weight of the massive steel drums that gave it shape; I hear the delivery trucks rumbling through the pre-dawn quiet; I remember the snowy weekend when I did my friend’s paper route in the dark while he was on vacation with his family; I relive the excitement of when first I saw my own name in those pulpy, pulpy pages.

Yet I’ve never subscribed to a newspaper. Not even one periodical printing publisher has propositioned me via mail or phone in the last five years. (Last year I saw some Statesman reps in the airlock of a Circuit City and I managed to escape their attention.) (Also last year a grubby young couple tried to sell me magazine subscriptions so they could go to Europe [which reminded me of Alex and his three droogs] but I never considered that the publisher’s doing. That’s just too creepy.)

Anyway, enough of my editorializing. Have some excerpts from excerpts from David’s follow-up article.

Or not. I just lost connectivity. Wow, I’m off-line. This is odd. I hope it’s brief. I might have to go outside and that would mean putting pants on.

Sorry about that. See, one of the perils of reading blogs: to match the writing, unprofessional attire.

And now the excerpts from… oops, still offline. Go and read the bus/train article linked from that Crunchnotes via. Find something funny in it, laugh, and then come back here. I’m going outside without my pants.

Later: here’s that awesome quotation from So who will get the story? by David Lazarus:

The blogosphere — a silly term coined by bloggers to legitimize their posturing — is comprised by and large of people whose work consists of commenting on the work of others.

Case in point: this article. David, how will you make sure your readers know you from the chaff?

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