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January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" 
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Post January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
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Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:40 pm
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Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
Having just read this, I have to agreed 100% with you, James. IMO, newspapers as a medium are a dying breed that will become extinct or close to it eventually (and perhaps sooner than most of us may think). I can see the day when newspapers will be pointed at as a relic from a past era.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:06 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
And I will disagree with you greatly, especially this crap, which I know is personal preference, but just makes you sound like a whiny bitch...

Quote:
I don't read physical newspapers because I don't like them. Never have liked them, even when they were not in danger of becoming extinct. I don't like getting my fingertips stained black. I don't like the awkwardness of having to fold them several times over to reduce them to a comfortable size. And I don't like the way they accumulate. A week's worth of newspapers can clutter a room in an alarming way. The digital versions provide the same content in a cleaner, more elegant fashion, albeit without the romanticism that old-timers attribute to the paper-reading experience.


The fingertips stained black issue is total nonsense. I have been reading the Newark Star Ledger and NY Times for 40 years now, and if memory serves, the only time that issue ever came about was one a really really bad printing day for the newspaper, and I think there may have been a total of 10 of those over 40 years, or the paper was wet from the rain, in which case I skipped that day. And the notion of washing ones hand regularly is NOT a new one.

The awkwardness of folding the paper when you are sitting at your kitchen table, lounge chair or toilet? Honestly, that is the laziest thing I ever heard of. What is the big deal? Actually, the thickness of news paper is such that it was designed to make this a non-issue, and it is.

Accumulation and trees are an honest issue, though these are EASILY dismissed with an easy, organized recycling plan, which Americans simply SUCK at. I throw each paper when I am done into a decent looking recycling bucket in my kitchen, and then I carry the bucket out to the curb every tuesday. Again, laziness!

I will say, I have tried to read paper subscriptions online, and they are disorganized, difficult to navigate and simply don't feel right. And I am ALWAYS suspicious of abridgment! I have been testing them out on my Kindle as of late, and the navigation there is interestingly easier, but I am absolutely positive that the articles are abridged and the paper is incomplete compared to the paper version.

On a side local note, I have also become pretty disgusted with the quality of the Newark Star Ledger. The paper has become an expensive, cut rate mess. I am almost done buying it.The legal notices are starting to outweigh ALL news coverage. Their sports section used to be the best in the country. It is a paltry simulation of that now with a couple of writers who need to go back to school. It is truly a great loss.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:41 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
MrGuinness wrote:
And I will disagree with you greatly, especially this crap, which I know is personal preference, but just makes you sound like a whiny bitch...

Wow, tell us how you REALLY feel. :shock:

That aside, I think it's a matter of convenience when I think of how the medium of newspapers is dying as source of information. The difference between getting all the news you need with a few key presses or the click of your mouse and fumbling with a newpaper is a huge one for many people (not just Americans). Also, as you mentioned, the environmental impact of not killing trees is a plus for many people who are turning to the Internet for current events. Yeah, there is recycling, but it's just more environmentally sound not to cut the trees down to begin with.

I think it's just time to accept that there will come a day when newspapers become extinct.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:27 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
As someone who has a vested interest in the viability of newspapers (especially the Times, for whom I've written a few essays), I hope you're wrong, Mr. B. Simply put, there is no journalistic parallel to the Times -- LA Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune are all big-city newspapers, but none of them have the writing staff that the Times has.

But of course -- is that enough? Do regular readers care about the quality of writing that comes out of NYT, or would they be perfectly satisfied with the colorless prose from the AP or Reuters? People who like to read well-written articles will continue to support it, but in the day and age of Twitter, I'm afraid we'll see a continuous, downward spiral of readers. But who knows. Maybe the third time will be the charm and NYT will finally be able to make some cash.

What I don't understand is why papers need charge less amount of money for online ads than print. Are online ads that much more "blind" than the ones on paper? I never thought so. If anything, they are more attractive because they are all in color and support moving images. I know there are ad blockers, but I just don't your average Joe uses them.

- Sung


Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:47 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
As much as it pains me to say this, I have to agree with Guiness on the ink thing. Not once have I ever got ink on my hands.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:48 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Wow, tell us how you REALLY feel. :shock:


Ah, I felt like giving him shit. He hit a pet peeve :)

Ragnarok73 wrote:
That aside, I think it's a matter of convenience when I think of how the medium of newspapers is dying as source of information. The difference between getting all the news you need with a few key presses or the click of your mouse and fumbling with a newpaper is a huge one for many people (not just Americans). Also, as you mentioned, the environmental impact of not killing trees is a plus for many people who are turning to the Internet for current events. Yeah, there is recycling, but it's just more environmentally sound not to cut the trees down to begin with.


The problem is that I am quite sure you are NOT getting all the news you need when you move from a newspapers print medium to their online medium. I have not done a thesis on the matter, but my personal experience is that you are not getting the full stories that you do in the print editions. I'm enough of a tree hugger not to disagree with your point about recycling, but recycling near 100% of newsprint means substantially reduced tree needs, and they are also a renewable resource.


Ragnarok73 wrote:
I think it's just time to accept that there will come a day when newspapers become extinct.


I have def accepted it, and bemoaned the demise of my childhood newspaper that is responsible for alot of who I am... I am looking for different formats, ie. Kindle, but the issue of abridgment is too great, and not being addressed. Sound bites are leading to news bites with no in-depth journalism anymore, which may be a different issue.


Last edited by MrGuinness on Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:51 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
Patrick wrote:
As much as it pains me to say this, I have to agree with Guiness on the ink thing. Not once have I ever got ink on my hands.


I think you owe me a beer now :)


Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:52 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
sjwoo wrote:
...none of them have the writing staff that the Times has. - ... Do regular readers care about the quality of writing that comes out of NYT, or would they be perfectly satisfied with the colorless prose from the AP or Reuters? People who like to read well-written articles will continue to support it, but in the day and age of Twitter, I'm afraid we'll see a continuous, downward spiral of readers.


VERY well said!

Quote:
What I don't understand is why papers need charge less amount of money for online ads than print. Are online ads that much more "blind" than the ones on paper? I never thought so. If anything, they are more attractive because they are all in color and support moving images. I know there are ad blockers, but I just don't your average Joe uses them.


I have a feeling JB is going to jump all over this part from his personal experience...


Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:55 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
Last month I got a free copy of the local newspaper. They were dropping them off at the houses of people with no subscriptions, I guess. I flipped through it and was disappointed by the lack of decent sports coverage, the opinion page filled with liberals both local and nationally, and finally the spelling errors. Sure it's not the New York Times or the Newark Star Ledger, but the least they could do is go through all the stories with a computer using spell check. How hard is that to do? The fact that I caught four of them on the front page says to me that this paper is lazy and stupid. And to top it all off, Dilbert was in black and white. Dilbert shows up on my computer every morning in color. Also, why do they still have horoscopes? Does anybody actually read them? The internet is just better and easier to use than a newspaper.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:05 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
IAMovieFan wrote:
Last month I got a free copy of the local newspaper. They were dropping them off at the houses of people with no subscriptions, I guess. I flipped through it and was disappointed by the lack of decent sports coverage, the opinion page filled with liberals both local and nationally, and finally the spelling errors.


As opposed to getting that freshly intelligent prose from facking Glenn Beck? I'll take pretty much anything over that painful nonsense.

Quote:
Sure it's not the New York Times or the Newark Star Ledger, but the least they could do is go through all the stories with a computer using spell check. How hard is that to do? The fact that I caught four of them on the front page says to me that this paper is lazy and stupid.


The local county paper where I live in NJ is the Daily Record, and it is well known that it is written on a 5th grade level. I think there is a rating somewhere that explains the grade level of newspapers. I know this is going to sound silly, but if memory serves, even the NY Times is (or maybe was, as things are different these days) basically written so that an 8th grader can understand it. People more in the know are free to correct me on this one.

Quote:
And to top it all off, Dilbert was in black and white. Dilbert shows up on my computer every morning in color. Also, why do they still have horoscopes? Does anybody actually read them? The internet is just better and easier to use than a newspaper.


You'd be AMAZED at the number of people that read horoscopes. Not better, and not easier. Lazier and less informative is more like it. But that is your society today, huh? :|


Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:42 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
Linux Weekly News (http://lwn.net) requires subscription access for the first two weeks when an article is new; then it becomes free. They're not rolling in money, but the site has been around for a long time. Something similar could be done for Reelviews -- say, require a subscription until the Sunday after a movie comes out -- but readers might still just change to reading a different reviewer every week.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:59 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
JB,

Why wouldn't you at least try some form of a subscription model if the ads do not work out in the long run. Sounds like you would just shut down the site rather than try another method.

MB :)


Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:23 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 11:33 am
Posts: 17
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
I think, in the end, we're going to have to go to a cable model -- i.e., you pay your ISP for access, your ISP pays fees to popular websites for access to them, just like they do with cable channels. Eventually, some bright boy at a site like the NYT is going to figure out that the ISP's are making tons of money of of *their* content and demand a piece. Or they will block every subscriber to that ISP.

That's the only business model I can see working.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:28 pm
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Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
MrGuinness wrote:
JB,

Why wouldn't you at least try some form of a subscription model if the ads do not work out in the long run. Sounds like you would just shut down the site rather than try another method.

MB :)


Would you pay to read his stuff? I don't think most of else would. I know I wouldn't. If you didn't hate yourself on film and pictures, I might suggest video reviews and putting them up on Blip where you can get some ad revenue.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:47 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
MrGuinness wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Wow, tell us how you REALLY feel. :shock:


Ah, I felt like giving him shit. He hit a pet peeve :)

I can see that. ;)

MrGuinness wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
That aside, I think it's a matter of convenience when I think of how the medium of newspapers is dying as source of information. The difference between getting all the news you need with a few key presses or the click of your mouse and fumbling with a newpaper is a huge one for many people (not just Americans). Also, as you mentioned, the environmental impact of not killing trees is a plus for many people who are turning to the Internet for current events. Yeah, there is recycling, but it's just more environmentally sound not to cut the trees down to begin with.


The problem is that I am quite sure you are NOT getting all the news you need when you move from a newspapers print medium to their online medium. I have not done a thesis on the matter, but my personal experience is that you are not getting the full stories that you do in the print editions. I'm enough of a tree hugger not to disagree with your point about recycling, but recycling near 100% of newsprint means substantially reduced tree needs, and they are also a renewable resource.

I have no doubt at all that newspapers still give more detailed stories about events than you can find on the internet. However, I also feel that the gap between internet sources and newspapers is narrowing in that regard. What JB hit upon is how the average person is perceiving how narrow that gap is, thus how it affects their decisions on whether to spend money on newspaper subsciptions or not. Last year, I myself picked up a 6-month subcription on one of the local papers, and it was probably more because of good salesmanship on the part of the person who sold me on it. However, I could count the number of times I actually read any part of those papers on 2 hands and still have fingers left. There was just very little in the newspapers that I couldn't find on the internet.


MrGuinness wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
I think it's just time to accept that there will come a day when newspapers become extinct.


I have def accepted it, and bemoaned the demise of my childhood newspaper that is responsible for alot of who I am... I am looking for different formats, ie. Kindle, but the issue of abridgment is too great, and not being addressed. Sound bites are leading to news bites with no in-depth journalism anymore, which may be a different issue.
If by "in-depth journalism" you mean detailed stories that go deeper into the event than just reporting facts, then I also agree. However, it seems that newer generations are simply looking to get facts without the need for great prose and descriptiveness. It's not a good thing to say about society and the way it's headed, but there it is.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:53 pm
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
In my opinion, increasingly, the "news" we get is less actual news and either propaganda (e.g. with the result that many ordinary Americans think that the Health reforms Obama initially had in mind were not in their best interests), sound bites or trivia. Maybe, if there were actual journalists involved who tried to dig up actual news and report them, a newspaper which actually reported these news could survive? At least for a while.


Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:54 am
Gaffer

Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:54 am
Posts: 25
Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
Perhaps James should consider adding a donation button.

I've see several sites that have such a feature.
Usually with something like this: "If you like this website please make a donation to help us defer the cost of maintaining the content."
It can be linked with PayPal to make it easy.

It is better than turning Reelviews into a subscription site and allows the viewer to make their own decision about paying for the content.
An option could even be included that would allow donors to make a single donation or make a donation on a regular basis.
Say, once a month or twice a month or every three months or so.
Then the revenue stream becomes continuous and to a certain extent even reliable.


Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:00 am
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Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
Hal_10000 wrote:
I think, in the end, we're going to have to go to a cable model -- i.e., you pay your ISP for access, your ISP pays fees to popular websites for access to them, just like they do with cable channels. Eventually, some bright boy at a site like the NYT is going to figure out that the ISP's are making tons of money of of *their* content and demand a piece. Or they will block every subscriber to that ISP.

That's the only business model I can see working.

Um, no. No, no, no. That is horrible. I'm sorry, but I'm a firm believer in net neutrality. I don't want this to become a reality. Or worse. It's just a disgusting idea in my opinion.

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Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:29 am
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Post Re: January 26, 2010: "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"
Patrick wrote:
Would you pay to read his stuff? I don't think most of else would. I know I wouldn't. If you didn't hate yourself on film and pictures, I might suggest video reviews and putting them up on Blip where you can get some ad revenue.


Just saying it might be worth a try before tanking the site altogether... $120 a year, no, but....


Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:30 am
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