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Washington Post To Go Paywall, Along With Buffett-Owned Local Papers

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the interesting-use-of-the-word-reportedly dept.

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McGruber writes "The Washington Post reports that the Washington Post, and local newspapers owned by Warren Buffett, are all planning to follow the New York Times and install metered paywalls." Buffett's got more than 80 papers right now, and hasn't quit buying them. There's some time to read the WaPo sans paywall, but by mid-year it may be up.

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Online International Newspapers (5, Interesting)

TwoOfBob (2790593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221605)

With the easy access to quality international newspapers why would one use Washington Post?

Re:Online International Newspapers (4, Interesting)

Tx (96709) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221845)

Presumably Buffet is making the same assumptions as Murdoch did in putting The Times (UK) behind a paywall a couple of years ago, namely that a) a tiny number of paying subscribers brings in more money in fees than millions of freeloaders do in ad revenue, and b) hopefully many more major publications will follow suit sooner or later, thus making it harder for people to get quality content for free, and so increasing the chance that they'll decide to pay for their news. There is some evidence [guardian.co.uk] that paywalls work if done right, and are working for the New York Post, the evidence seems slightly more mixed [guardian.co.uk] for The Times, I guess we're a smaller market in the UK, so it will be harder to make it work here. Whether it will be true for the Washington Post remains to be seen, but it's not completely crazy.

Re:Online International Newspapers (2, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221861)

WASHINGTON POST PLUMMETS TO DEATH.

The NY Times is steadily failing, like a ship with a small leak. Its perforated paywall, not withstanding.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222645)

Any dead tree newspaper that fails to make the transition to new media is just as dead as Encyclopedia Brittanica, regardless of the quality of its journalism. It's sad to see LA Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post wither away, but wither they will under the dead hands of Murdoch and Buffet. Winners: trees. Losers: senile billionaires.

Re:Online International Newspapers (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222873)

"Any dead tree newspaper that fails to make the transition to new media is just as dead as Encyclopedia Brittanica, regardless of the quality of its journalism. "

You implied but did not say "transitioning to new media" does not automatically mean paywall.

I'll stick with the "free" services for now. I might not get some of the news until half a day later than some who pay, but I hardly care. I stopped watching the news on television 3 years ago, and don't much miss it. And that was "free".

Re:Online International Newspapers (4, Insightful)

schnell (163007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42223283)

Winners: trees. Losers: senile billionaires.

Also losers: the American public.

You know how news is, like, free on the Interwebs? It's because somebody (not you) is paying for actual, trained reporters to investigate issues and write things. In this case it's the media outlets who pay for and contribute content to AP/UPI/etc. This whole arrangement was created a century ago so that a newspaper in Cleveland for example wouldn't have to send a reporter to Washington DC for politics, to New York for financial news, etc. It was a collective action among these newspapers to share costs so they could offer their local readers with national/international news coverage while paying a fraction of the price. AP/UPI wire coverage news would be the same in every newspaper basically... but local readers (and advertisers!) would choose based on the quality of the stories and value a LOCAL newspaper provides to LOCAL readers. So far so good.

But then come the Interwebs. Newspapers are used to the ad-driven model so they figure they can still pay for their local reporters and AP/UPI content through a mix of paper subscriptions (and ad rates), then put their newspaper online for free. Not so much, since online ads pay a heck of a lot less than print ads do. And the classified ads and local advertising that have effectively subsidized the business of paying actual reporters for decades have largely vanished to Internet advertising houses like Google with better localization algorithms and more pervasive user tracking. So what you end up with is newspapers trying to pay for the old style of journalism with a mix of declining print revenues (which could pay the bills) and online revenues (which aren't enough to pay the bills).

Far more damaging to newspapers: businesses like Breitbart, NewsMax, etc. that do no original reporting themselves (or at least none of value) just pay the wire service fees and are actually able to squeak by on online ad revenues, unlike the newspapers that pay for actual reporters and contribute net new content. End result: nearly all newspapers are in decline, and many if not most will go down the drain. So eventually there will be just one or two syndicated wire services and every news outlet will reprint exactly the same content, and the market for local investigative journalism will pretty much dry up since the AP wouldn't pay a reporter to spend three months exposing local corruption in the Fargo North Dakota mayor's office... whereas a Fargo newspaper might, if there still were one.

The kinda sorta flip side is that quality newspapers (or blogs or whatever) will win... once there is no "free lunch" on news, pretty much all news will have to be for-pay again. That will suck for those of us who currently don't pay for news, but the surviving outlets will have to distinguish themselves on the quality of their local or specialty reporting. Personally, I read the Washington Post online each day for free but probably wouldn't pay for it... I do however pay for a subscription to The Economist that I read on my Kindle (and throw out the weekly paper version). Maybe this is good in that in the future - after free commoditized news is dead - all news outlets will need to make their content good enough for users to be willing to pay for.

P.S. Please do not give me this "we don't need reporters or LAMESTREAM MEDIA anymore because of bloggers" BS because the world needs organizations that will actually vouch for the work of their reporters (against the threat of expensive libel suits) and provide some seal of QA on the veracity of reportage. Imagine a world where the only sources of news are a million different jackass versions of The Drudge Report or The Huffington Post... except with no "real" news to link to.

Re:Online International Newspapers (3, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222771)

I have a paper.

I charge for subscriptions, but it really doesn't cover the cost of printing and delivery. I get most of my revenue for Ads.

The more people that read my paper, the more people want to advertise with me and the more I can charge.

Then came this internet thingy. I can put my paper on line and now people throughout the world will see my content and my ads.

Put these mean people are linking directly to my news stories so they don't see the front page. I don't know why, but that pisses me off.

So I'm going to start charging people to see my Ads on the interweb thingy. That'll show them.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222893)

"Put these mean people are linking directly to my news stories so they don't see the front page. I don't know why, but that pisses me off."

And of course, being a lowly news service, it never occurred to you to redirect any outside referrals to your home page.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222977)

Apparently, it hasn't occurred to WaPo.

And you don't REALLY think I own a news paper, do you?

Re:Online International Newspapers (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221951)

Um, but if the number of paying subscribers is tiny, is it really news? Or is it a... I dunno... fanzine? Moreover, how does one pay reporters with the proceeds from a tiny number of paying subscribers? If the answer is they'll "get news from the wire services, why couldn't we also go there directly and not pay the newspaper?

I appreciate that newspapers are trying to find a business model that makes sense, but I can't see this model working.

Parenthetically, what's really going to be interesting is to see what happens to all the infrastructure required for the physical edition, and how Buffet gets out of the appropriate union contracts. The only way I can see it is to go out of business and come back as a much smaller, web-only, company.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222435)

Traditionally, newspapers survived on advertising-- local advertising. The internet ripped apart this cushy model.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222585)

One would think that an online only newspaper could still survive on local advertising. Lots of websites survive exclusively on advertising, and to make it local merely requires targeted ads based on location -- which is clearly a known science.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222913)

"Traditionally, newspapers survived on advertising-- local advertising. The internet ripped apart this cushy model."

I agree with the other responder. Local advertising is still there.

Of course, part of the problem is that many businesses still do not know how to advertise on the internet; this complicates things somewhat. But there is no reason it has to be any different from the print model of advertising.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221965)

and b) hopefully many more major publications will follow suit sooner or later, thus making it harder for people to get quality content for free, and so increasing the chance that they'll decide to pay for their news.

c) He could just buy many more major publications, and force them to follow suit. I mean, it's not like he's hurting for cash . . .

. . . but then again . . . he's still betting that people will think that the news he's offering is worth paying for. I'm not really concerned that the world will stop if I miss another story about a 'methed up Lindsay Lohan getting arrested while driving Justin Bieber's Fisker through Kim Kardashian' butt cheeks . . .

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222455)

. . . but then again . . . he's still betting that people will think that the news he's offering is worth paying for. I'm not really concerned that the world will stop if I miss another story about a 'methed up Lindsay Lohan getting arrested while driving Justin Bieber's Fisker through Kim Kardashian' butt cheeks . . .

Ummm, assuming Justin calls his left arm "Fisker", that particular story may actually have some internet revenue potential... The video would for sure.

Re:Online International Newspapers (2)

hibiki_r (649814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222685)

El Pais tried it years ago in Spain. The competition ate their lunch, and haven't recovered the market share yet

Re:Online International Newspapers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42223267)

Heres' the thing: I think a paywall would work well IF the site had the content AND all the ads were static text or static graphics--like a newspaper.

Instead, despite being a paid subscription, the site will be infested with popups, intersitials that follow along as the page is scrolled, intellitext type underlines that popup ads if they are even accidentally hovered over... web 2.0 ad shit basically--you name it, it will probably be there distracting from the page content.

So it might as well remain free.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

gmanterry (1141623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42223349)

Presumably Buffet is making the same assumptions as Murdoch did in putting The Times (UK) behind a paywall a couple of years ago, namely that a) a tiny number of paying subscribers brings in more money in fees than millions of freeloaders do in ad revenue, and b) hopefully many more major publications will follow suit sooner or later, thus making it harder for people to get quality content for free, and so increasing the chance that they'll decide to pay for their news. There is some evidence [guardian.co.uk] that paywalls work if done right, and are working for the New York Post, the evidence seems slightly more mixed [guardian.co.uk] for The Times, I guess we're a smaller market in the UK, so it will be harder to make it work here. Whether it will be true for the Washington Post remains to be seen, but it's not completely crazy.

It probably depends a lot on the slant of the news. If you want your news with a liberal slant then you will support one paper. Conservative slant another. There does not appear to be a news source available without a bias. We might as well be reading vacuum tubes because they're all biased... negatively.

The last sentence is for folks over 60.

Re:Online International Newspapers (4, Informative)

SEE (7681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222423)

I suspect it's an attempt to replicate the Wall Street Journal model. The Wall Street Journal business/finance reporting, especially focused on the New York exchanges, is not generally replicated among mass-market newspapers. And it constitutes genuinely valuable work-related information to certain people who also have employer-provided expense accounts, these people go ahead and subscribe, and the subscriptions are paid by their employer as a business expense.

The Washington Post at least had (I don't know if they currently still do) a reputation for doing detailed nuts-and-bolts political/policy reporting on the US Federal Government in depth that nobody else matched. That is similarly genuinely valuable work-related information to certain people who also have employer-provided expense accounts, who will (presumably) then go ahead and subscribe, the subscriptions are paid by their employer as a business expense.

The Buffet-owned papers are, according to the article, going to go with "local, local, local stuff." Which is to say, the theory is the subscription will be worth it for the stuff that you can't get from a general-interest international paper. I'm more suspicious of this model; it doesn't have the advantage of the expense accounts. But it does at least try to sell something other than AP wire reports.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

stymy (1223496) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222733)

Keep in mind that many of those papers are local, so people interested in local news won't be able to get the information online for free anymore, so that should at least motivate more people to get a paper subscription, if not a digital one.

Re:Online International Newspapers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42223137)

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Why Invest in Newspapers .... (2)

pollarda (632730) | about a year and a half ago | (#42223227)

Warren Buffet despite his foibles as we know is a crazy good investor. The question in my mind is why invest in newspapers when there is some evidence that they are a dying business model. On one hand, there is always going to be a need for news (and writers / journalists) but a much more decentralized model seems to rule day as many of the blogs do (such as Huffington Post). I would be really interested in knowing what his game play is as far as the newspapers are concerned. It could be they simply allow him to play in the political arena at a higher level than before.

I'm not a fan of Warren Buffet at all as he despite his carefully nurtured "grandfather" demeanor plays real hardball and screws people left and right. (The lady who used to own Business Wire got screws IMHO as she just sold it to him cheap simply because she liked his "grandfatherness.") In addition, he is well known for advocating higher taxes on the "wealthy" on one hand and not paying his taxes on the other. As many say: "Watch what Warren Buffet does -- not what he says."

Re:Online International Newspapers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42223285)

Good news indeed I'm happy to know less and less people will read their bullshit.

Firefox to the rescue (5, Interesting)

vivek7006 (585218) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221661)

Firefox rules. I have been using addons refcontrol to take care of paywalled websites like nytimes.com, wsj.com etc.
linky: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/refcontrol/ [mozilla.org]

Re:Firefox to the rescue (3, Interesting)

TwoOfBob (2790593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221683)

You do know that only works because enough people don't care to use it, right?

Re:Firefox to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221747)

That might be although enough people don't care means the business model is broke.

Re:Firefox to the rescue (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221775)

Trick question, right? It will continue to work even if many people use it, as long as the papers want google news to index them.

Re:Firefox to the rescue (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221781)

You do know that only works because enough people don't care to use it, right?

Maybe in the "not going out of business" sense that is true. But in the specific sense of "if a lot of other people do that too, they will close the loophole" what you wrote is not true. The reason that it is not true is their "paywall-model" is based on high porosity. They want people to be able to read a limited number of articles with as little friction as possible in order to get them hooked enough to pay for unlimited access.

The problem is that they can't be both highly porous and completely locked down. If it comes to that, their current business model will fall apart. The highly-locked down paywall model has been shown to fail in most cases, only working for very specific markets and general interest news has not been one of them.

Re:Firefox to the rescue (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221819)

You do know that only works because enough people don't care to use it, right?

no, it only works because the companies are real lazy about the method they use for providing free number of articles to people.

because it's hard to get people to check out your content at all if you insist on login credentials beforehand, for even those free articles. a local newspaper does that now here, all that's needed is flushing of cookies to beat the system. they know damn well that's all it needs or at least their web contracting company knows...

but people are not ready to start using mandatory fb logins just for reading 5 free articles a day.

Re:Firefox to the rescue (1)

TwoOfBob (2790593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221917)

What part of my post did you miss? It works just because enough people don't care to missplay it

Re:Firefox to the rescue (4, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221929)

it only works because the companies are real lazy ...

Not lazy. Smart. They want as many readers as possible, paying or not, because those readers generate ad revenue and "buzz" as they discuss the articles, and put links to them in blogs, facebook posts, etc. They would rather have as many of those readers pay up as possible, but would rather keep them as unpaying customers than lose them completely. So they put up a paywall to get revenue from readers willing to pay, but they still keep the readers that are willing to put in some effort to circumvent the paywall.

The situation is similar with software. Software publishers want people to pay, but would rather have people "pirate" their software than not use it at all, because they know that helps them build market share in the long run.

Re:Firefox to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222669)

For the Gannet newspapers I just disable Java and I'm in.

That's a lot of papers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221681)

for one man's obituary.

Good for them (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221709)

why do I give a shit?

I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221713)

I don't get it.

How, exactly, does this paywall function?

The only reason I ask is that I have been going to http://www.nytimes.com/ for ages now (using NoScript, Ghostery and ABP) and I get the front page with no mention of paying for the site. I occasionally get a blank screen with a little "skip advertisment" link in the upper-right corner, but clicking it simply brings me to where I was trying to go--the main NYT page. In short, I don't think this paywall is even effecting me. If it is, is isn't sufficiently bothersome to lead me to a subscription.

What am I missing? Is there separate pages that paid subscribers are seeing that I am not? More articles available? What?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221795)

Nope. The NYTimes paywall relies on cookies to track how many articles you read. Delete the cookies and paywall is nothing. They paid a some ivy league shitbag with an MBA 8 million dollars to oversee it's development. These old media people are a fucking joke. Even if the paywall did work I would never pay considering their shameful yellow journalism leading up to the Iraq war. Pathetic.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222729)

Even if the paywall did work I would never pay considering their shameful yellow journalism leading up to the Iraq war.

Now be fair. The fact that they didn't really have a mushroom cloud pointed at our heads is just another manifestation of reality's liberal bias. In a fair and balanced world they would have had one, and the MSM's warmongering would have been exactly the right thing to do.

I'm sure that that line of reasoning also proves that the MSM is liberal, but I can't quite pin down the argument...

Re:I don't get it. (5, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221839)

What am I missing? Is there separate pages that paid subscribers are seeing that I am not? More articles available? What?

The NYTimes paywall is intended to let everybody read a limited number of articles per month with no hassle at all - exceed the limit and you run into a paywall on all of their articles. The thing is that it relies on cookies in your browsers to keep track of how many articles you've read. So, if you do things like spoof your referrer to be google and never let their website set a cookie, you are unlikely to ever be hassled by their paywall.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221891)

Easier to just use incognito mode.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221991)

> year 2012
> still saving cookies from every website by default
> mfw

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42223309)

However, that's theft of content.

If you want them to be honest, you have to be honest.

This article is making me hungry (0, Offtopic)

writertype (541679) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221717)

I feel like going out to eat tonight... perhaps at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Anyone want to join me? Perhaps we can talk about investing, and that Warren guy... what's his name...Oh, yes. Buffett. And then it's off to Margaritaville for a nightcap...

Re:This article is making me hungry (1)

Romwell (873455) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221865)

The twist is that Washington Post is actually owned by the buffet you're going to.

Re:This article is making me hungry (1)

timothy (36799) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222383)

Sorry 'bout that. Warren's Buffet truly is a different place. Changed to reflect; mea culpa.

Tim

and nothing of value was lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221719)

Seriously, who reads papers, especially local ones?

Re:and nothing of value was lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221727)

People who are interested in local news.

Re:and nothing of value was lost. (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221783)

Old people?

Re:and nothing of value was lost. (1)

leromarinvit (1462031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222089)

Old people?

In Korea?

Re:and nothing of value was lost. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221837)

Tons of people. Since most of them have left their parent's basement you probably wouldn't understand.

Re:and nothing of value was lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222763)

I actually find living in your parents basement much more acceptable. BTW it is only a US Taboo, rest of the work is absolutely fine with living with your parents.

Re:and nothing of value was lost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222797)

rest of the world is absolutely fine with one living with his/her parents.

FTFY

Re:and nothing of value was lost. (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#42223085)

I don't even read online newspapers, let alone paper versions. My news come from various blogs. If something of importance happens it will be there. All important events will propagate into free media (such as blogs) even if just as discussions about the event. If the event is of low importance (a common cat lost and then found 10 minutes later in a German village, 10,000 miles away from me) then I don't want to waste my time on it.

In other words, journalists lost their exclusive license to spread and explain news. Their attempts to charge for their work are mostly laughable. Can you charge for retelling rumors from the bazaar *at* the bazaar?

google news settings (2)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221729)

Anybody know how to tell Google News "don't show me paywall sites?" Or to blacklist sites in some way?

Re:google news settings (4, Insightful)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221735)

While we are at it, is there a slashdot option for hiding summaries with paywalled sites?

Re:google news settings (0)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221963)

Mod this guy up!!

Re:google news settings (1)

LoztInSpace (593234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222003)

You'd hope the "editors" would think about such things, wouldn't you?

Re:google news settings (2)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222545)

This is Slashdot. You're supposed to be able to route around the encryption.

Re:google news settings (4, Informative)

SEE (7681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222565)

Or to blacklist sites in some way?

Click on the gear icon in the upper right, look down to "Adjust Sources", then adjust how often you see results from that source down to "Never".

Re:google news settings (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222613)

Many thanks!

Restaruant owners? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221741)

I read the headline and thought the All-U-Can-Eat BBQ Buffet was charging for napkins and bibs.

Guess I'll have to just use twitter instead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221753)

Guess I'll have to just use twitter instead, and read the original news from the original source.

Information just wants to be free.

Walled off (0)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221755)

From potential customers. And nothing of value was lost.

Where else will I go for ap/Reuters reprints (2)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221773)

And upi. That's what most news articles are, reprints of what they buy from the three big news gathering organizations

Local news? Between blogs, twitter and aol's push into local news there is no reason to pay for news

Re:Where else will I go for ap/Reuters reprints (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222245)

Except that a few newspapers, the NY Times in particular, actually do have original content. You may not agree with the content or it's biases, but it is 'unique'. That presumably has some value and it certainly has a cost.

Re:Where else will I go for ap/Reuters reprints (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222485)

I thought we were talking about news not made up crap original content "fit to print". And yes, it costs a lot to whitewash BBC made up content next morning.

Re:Where else will I go for ap/Reuters reprints (1)

stymy (1223496) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222337)

If you want real content, subscribe to the New Yorker. You can also read a fair bit of their content online for free, but they're one of the few publications left that still do real investigative journalism. I spend about 2 hours a week reading each week's issue, so I think I get great value for $90 per year.

Throw away the competitive advantage (1)

edibobb (113989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221787)

Why do people go to washingtonpost.com instead of nytimes.com or wsj.com? One reason is the paywall at nytimes and wsj. What should a competent CEO do? Naturally, throw away the competitive advantage, lest it be unfair to the others.

Warren Buffett... (2)

supremebob (574732) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221803)

Was once quoted a few years ago that he didn't invest in technology companies like Microsoft because he didn't understand how they operated.

Apparently his knowledge of how the Internet works hasn't improved much since then.

Re:Warren Buffett... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222403)

Please mod parent down. Buffet has invested $10 billion within the past year or so in a major tech company - IBM.

Re:Warren Buffett... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222783)

Please mod parent down. Buffet has invested $10 billion within the past year or so in a major tech company - IBM.

No, Buffet invested $10 billion in a major services company. Buffet understands services and so does IBM.

I live in Northern VA (near Washington) (1)

Alex S from VA (762996) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221825)

...and I don't read the paper nor the website (much). Don't think it will affect me (much)

Re:I live in Northern VA (near Washington) (2)

DewDude (537374) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222619)

I live in NoVA too...and Buffet is shutting down our local paper (News & Messenger). This ends actually having an idea of what's going on in the county/locally.

Their website has the best weather forecast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222853)

...and I don't read the paper nor the website (much). Don't think it will affect me (much)

If you live close to DC then you're missing out by not reading the Post website for Capital Weather Gang http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang [washingtonpost.com] . When the area is facing severe weather those guys give the most detailed, area by area, timely weather data I've seen for the region. Fortunately we don't get Snowmageddens or Sandys very often, but when we do I'm hitting their site every few hours.

The interenet will find a way (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221875)

Fact is, the more business out there struggles to come to terms with the internet and what people do with it, the more it becomes apparent which will adapt and which will need to be replaced.

There is a big hint offered in how business perceives the net. If they see it as a threat and attempt to battle it, they will lose.

Newspapers are losing money, why buy? (1)

blanchae (965013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42221877)

Most newspapers are losing money and subscribers, why would anyone buy them up? There's been a lot of scandals with newspapers inflating the number of subscribers. Wasn't it the New York Times that was throwing out 50,000 papers a day a couple of years back? The papers were just to inflate their subscriber base for advertisers. I hardly read a newspaper at all anymore. Maybe once a week or two. Nothing that I haven't heard 2 or 3 days earlier on Slashdot or Fark

Re:Newspapers are losing money, why buy? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222069)

One is the the internet, the second is every newspaper is simply recycling stories from UPI, Reuters, and AFP. The third is bias.

Re:Newspapers are losing money, why buy? (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222419)

One is the the internet, the second is every newspaper is simply recycling stories from UPI, Reuters, and AFP

For the most part, the New York Times doesn't recycle wire service stories. That's part of their charm. Neither does the Washington Post, (but I prefer the Times). There are a lot of papers out there who rely on wire services for anything that's not local news-- and those papers are probably unsustainable.

No real time to troll (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221903)

sorry, faggots.

What is a "newspaper"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42221999)

Is it something like Slashdot or Reddit?

Re:What is a "newspaper"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222441)

GET OFF MY LAWN.

Oh fucking dicks (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222055)

NOW how am I supposed to get my opinionated yellowed news!?

Re:Oh fucking dicks (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222457)

You could always try The Daily Mail [dailymail.co.uk] A surprising number of people outside the UK think it's a real newspaper.

The decline of the Western media (2)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222077)

I can't blame the Washington Post. This isn't an isolated move. News publishers throughout the West are fighting to have some pay mechanism in place, either through legilsation, such as in France and Germany, or through paywalls, in English-speaking speaking countries like the US and UK.

A single paper restricting access to its free news service isn't bad. It may impove its bottom line. But imagine what would happen if the majority of the online publications in the West decide to go the pay-before-you-read route? Then more and more people who want to read the news online would go to the remaining free news sources. And guess what? There are organization than would be more than eager to fill the vacuum.

Russia, China, and the news or propoganda organizations of other authoritarian/totalitarian countires can well afford to subsidize online sites that can broadcast or publish their outlook on world events. They just need a little more time to polish off their English, make it sound less like party propaganda and apparat-speak. Perhaps a brand name change would is also in order, if names like Russia Today and China Central TV sound pretty ominous to citizens of Western liberal democracies.

Let's just hope that relatively unbiased news sites like the BBC remain "free" for the rest of the world to read.

Buffet is a hypocritical (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222121)

So the King of spreading the wealth (Mr. Tax Me More) has no problem with giving away other people's money, but when it comes to his own things, he doesn't want to give them away? Say it ain't so!

Bugmenot (2)

bedouin (248624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222123)

I guess I'll be using Bugmenot [bugmenot.com] with WP like I have with the NY TImes for years.

Buffet-owned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222211)

Did anyone else think that 'buffet-owned' meant the newspapers were owned by the Chinese family down the street with the all-you-can-eat restaurant?

Warren Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222339)

did he make "ME" any money this last quarter?

who cares......unless you make "ME" money. I DON"T

real news? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222347)

When was the last time the Washington post, or any newspaper for that mater, reported something that wasn't part of the democrat or republican talking points for the day? They're dieing because they stopped reporting "news" sometime in the 1970s. Fuck them, they deserve the fate they've been dealt.

This is excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222357)

It means that fewer people will be subjected to the biased crap from both the Washington Post and Buffet's stable. A good day!

Buffet's company Berkshire Hathaway (0)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222385)

When is Warren Buffet going to stop fighting the IRS and pay all the back taxes he owes? Fucking hypocrite!

Re:Buffet's company Berkshire Hathaway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222539)

Calm yourself. You've gotta watch some TV before returning to your dead end job on Monday.

Hope CNN does that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222463)

Now if CNN decides to do that and stop giving free news (yes, they actually call that news), my life at airport terminals will become much easier. I cannot stand that (nasal sounding) sh1t.

Re:Hope CNN does that (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222757)

sh1t

If you were *really* clever you would have substituted in the Roman numeral.

Private browsing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222499)

Another way around is to use private browsing.

An editor, and editor, my kingdom for an editor! (2)

tlambert (566799) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222513)

I stopped subscribing to physical newspapers as soon as their content hit over 50% advertising on the normal news pages, and they became nothing more than a cheaper-than-the-USPS method for distributing sales circulars and coupons.

Electronic publishers, including those for eBooks, and not just limited to "eNewspapers", have become nearly unreadable, because they no longer employ actual, human editors to correct spelling and grammatical errors; if I have to correct it in my head, that's work I'm doing that they should be doing before I even see it.

The eNewspapers are even more egregiously failing me than eBooks, since for non-fiction, their fact checking is seriously lacking -- not that the print versions are doing any better in this regard.

The profession of investigative journalism of the type practiced by Neil Sheehan, Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein is effectively dead in todays news media. The closest you will see is the occasional television journalistic "scoop", in which a whistle-blower has effectively handed the story to the likes of 60 Minutes, with a bow on it, and they ran with the story because it lacked sufficient controversy to get them in legal hot water.

A pay wall will likely not get me to read this eTripe any more than I already do, which is best characterized as "infrequently at best", and will certainly disincentivize me further if, on paying the fee, I find that there are still large tracts of ads fighting for my attention as they attempt to further monetize my already monetized eyeballs.

Look, morons, it's very simple:

(1) Provide your ad-blasted tripe for free
(2) Write stories that have more depth than their first sentence, or you will not be seeing me click through
(3) Hire some damn editors
(4) Clearly mark syndicated vs. non-syndicated content
(5) Let me have a try-before-I-buy time limited subscription without asking for my billing details up front; I do not have a business relationship with you unless I like you
(6) Profit!!!!

Do I think this model will work for you? Not long term, as the New York Times is in the process of demonstrating. So approach the problem a different way.

Personally, I would prefer that you just syndicate your original content through Google, and concentrate on that, rather than fitting it in the column inches of syndicated content I can get anywhere else I happen to look. Let Google or whoever emerges as "the one new portal" pay your syndication fees out of their ad revenue, and leave me the hell out of it.

You need to realize that you are not going to do ad serving better than Google does it. Just give the hell up now, and do what you can do better than Google (and do it before Google gets better at it than you are because you are running around with no focus).

And hire some damn editors. If my 6th grade niece can point out your grammar faux pas, you should damn well be able to hire someone with an English degree, whose other options for a career would otherwise be limited to either making more people with English degrees or asking me "would you like fries with that?" to fix your spelling and grammar.

Oh, and finally: some idiots blog doesn't count as news, so leave their publication to Blogspot, and stick with actual news, please.

Re:An editor, and editor, my kingdom for an editor (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222773)

You make the mistake of expecting standards. Standards died with the advent of 24-hour "news" channels.

Re:An editor, and editor, my kingdom for an editor (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42223305)

Funny you should use the example of Woodward and Bernstein, as they were handed a journalistic "scoop", in which a whistle-blower handed the story to the likes of the Washington Post with a bow on it [wikipedia.org] .

Funny, even back in the good old days journalists were exactly the way you criticize them for being today...I think that's called "false nostalgia" or something.

The Washington Post passed away with my father (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42222567)

When he died, stopping the paper was just one of many estate chores. I lived with him, and read it sometimes; but wasn't going to pay for it on my own.

Today is also the 71st anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. My father was in the USN, and would have been 90 this month if he were still around. The Post belongs to his generation...

Decline of Newspapers began before the web (4, Interesting)

knorthern knight (513660) | about a year and a half ago | (#42222879)

I believe that the newspaper industry's underlying problems existed before the internet. Yes, the internet exacerbated them and sped up the collapse, but they were around before the internet. I believe that, even without the internet, these problems would've eventually hit newspaper publishing revenues, but it would've taken longer to do so.

    First question... what was the newspaper business model? For many advertisers, newspapers were the only source of eyeballs for their products/services before the internet. Newspapers used their print advertising monopoly to charge extremely high ad rates, which paid for...
* the cost of printing/running the ad
* paying reporters and foreign correspondents all over the country and around the world
* and a nice fat 30%+ annual ROI for shareholders
In plain English, newspapers effectively levied a tax on advertisers. This defacto "advertising-tax" paid for newspaper journalism, among other things.

    The newspaper business model, which subsidized journalism, could be attacked by advertisers getting their products/services in front of customer eyeballs by a method other than newspaper ads ("advertising-tax avoidance"). The "advertising-tax avoidance" scenario played out over the years...

* "Auto Trader Magazine" was established in 1977. See http://www.manta.com/c/mmj727f/auto-trader-magazine [manta.com] It had one major advantage over newspaper classifieds... it did not have the overhead of paying for the salaries/accomadations/airline-tickets of reporters all over the planet. It was an advertising "pure play", that had a lot less overhead than a newspaper, and could make a profit while charging much lower ad rates.

* Right now in Toronto (where I live) there are 2 or 3 free weekly employment "papers" (to use the term loosely) that can be picked up at newspaper boxes around the city. They're 1/2 tabloid size. One reason they can use the free model is that they don't have to pay for reporters, etc. The ads paid for by employers are sufficient.

* Back in the mid-1980's, when I was looking for a place to live in Toronto, I found "The Real Estate Weekly". It was a free 1/2 tabloid put out by the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service), a co-operative venture of local real estate firms. It had a lot more leeway that Auto Trader or the employment weeklies. Auto Trader and the employment weeklies are put out by for-profit corporations. "The Real Estate Weekly" could break even, or even lose a bit of money. But as long as it cost the the member real estate firms less than running ads in local papers, the real
estate firms came out ahead.

* Major national chains began printing their own advertising flyers and having newspapers insert them ("advertising inserts"). The original reason was that it was a pain for a national outfit to co-ordinate running the same ad at the same time at dozens of papers across the country, or even a region. Also, there were some newspapers that didn't have 4-colour presses, and were physically incapable of printing the multicoloured ad inserts. Then the national chains found out that it cost a lot less to do their own printing, and let the newspapers do the physical delivery. Then, with falling newspaper circulation, it became obvious that the newspaper deliveries covered only part of the target market. The only way to cover all of a market was to either...
    - have a private firm deliver the flyers door-to-door (suitable for single-dwelling units)
    - or send the flyers as 3rd-class "junkmail" to all units in rental and condominium buildings

    Notice something about the 4 examples above? There is no mention whatsoever of the internet or the World Wide Web. Even in a pre-web world, newspapers were losing classified ad revenues for used cars, employment, real estate, and retail advertising to non-newspaper competitors. The competitors have now expanded to websites, but the first losses were occuring before the web existed.

I don't read it most of the time, except ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42223299)

When I want to gain (potentially) another perspective, I will see the angle the WaPo is taking. It's actually very predictable anyway, and they don't produce anything different than thousands of others.

Now if they actually reported facts, without opinion, and show the facts thoroughly of both sides, then I will subscribe for a lifetime. But WaPo is long gone in the MSM direction, and I won't be visiting them much longer, apparently.

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