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News Worth Buying On Paper

timothy posted about a year ago | from the we've-been-tracking-your-hyperlocation dept.

The Media 106

theodp writes " Last night,' confesses Business Insider's Henry Blodget, 'I did something I very rarely do: I bought a newspaper. Why? 'Because there was some news in the newspaper that I wanted that wasn't available online for free [a hyperlocal zoning story].' The problem in the news industry, suggests Blodget, is there is way too much commodity news coverage of the same stories, so it has to be given away for free. To be able to charge for news, Blodget suggests, you need more news that can't be found anywhere else. So, is there any type of news that you're still willing to pay for these days?" I've recently discovered that a newspaper in The Villages, Florida publishes a monthly list of "Golf Cart Crashes (With Injuries)," googling for which only seems to bring up ads for lawyers specializing in that area, so paper will have to do.

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I'm still reading the paper on... paper (4, Insightful)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#44400149)

Because the really good in-depth articles are not available online, unless you pay. And I prefer to read at leasure on a large tabloid format, instead of on my mobile or laptop.

That said, there is a whole generation growing up who thinks the generic news with 5 lines of information and 2000 lines of unwarranted conclusions are the standard for news. A fertile field for would-be demagogues.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (3, Interesting)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44400411)

I too still read traditional newspapers...but not on paper.

Not owning a TV the internet is my primary news source. The most valuable publications on the internet to me are The Guardian and DER SPIEGEL. And even though those two have an excellent and supposedly selfsufficient online presence I can tell the journalistic difference. The online stuff reports mere news. The kind of stuff you can buy off Reuters, AP and other newsbrokers. They focus on speed. The print editions focus on analysis and are a bit more thorough as they can obviously spend more time in the archives. The Guardian gets pumped onto my Kindle via Amazon and even if the legendary lack of editing on The Grauniard sometimes is more than a bit aggravating it does make my daily commute a little bit retarded. DER SPIEGEL on the other hand is a weekly periodical and comes with very lengthy reports. I do not know of an equal to it worldwide. I also try to read Die Zeit and have been known to do so for the last 20 years but it is a pure opinion piece front to back and it is as thick as your average phone book.
I've given up on Le Monde and the NZZ due to lack of time.

If you compare these newspapers to their online presence or even worse news on TV there is no better way to keep yourself informed. And there is no alternative to reading a lot of newspapers from as many countries you can do. Otherwise you might be lead to the misconception that there is such a thing as a simple truth

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44402593)

I've found the "Very Lengthy Reports" are seldom worth reading.

Most of them are simply historical rehashes and interview material loaded with selected and often biased viewpoints, all tossed in to increase bulk and the appearance of gravitas without actually adding much real or new information. Once you get past a certain size you end up seeing more bias creep into the story, mostly that of the reporter.

That coupled with wild inaccuracies introduced by journalism majors, (that even a brief glance through Wikipedia would have avoided) make these long articles seldom worth the time. Very occasionally you will find a reporter worth their salt, and when you do, you remember their name.

But the on-line versions of articles in papers that actually produce long articles are never limited by column inches, and you will often find MORE content on line than in print, but it won't be of any better quality.

These longer stories only make sense in the Weekly Newspaper (Sunday issues usually) or Magazine format and are a hold over from when people could only afford one news source. In the digital age, when you can check several sources (even remote ones), gather the facts from several sources, weed out the bias, (or introduce alternate biases, as the case may be) and get past the journalism major pulp fiction found in these encyclopedic length articles.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

Christopher_T. (1857830) | about a year ago | (#44409169)

The intelligent (read: not everybody) react with healthy skepticism. Also, the point about "generic" stories is quite valid. Too much reporting these days is rewriting press releases, and maybe getting an opposing viewpoint. Reporter doesn't even have to get out of her chair.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (4, Informative)

pipatron (966506) | about a year ago | (#44400541)

That said, there is a whole generation growing up who thinks the generic news with 5 lines of information and 2000 lines of unwarranted conclusions are the standard for news. A fertile field for would-be demagogues.

Oh yes, the kids today, they don't know the value of the printed medium. Always in a hurry. In olden times it was different. The periodicals are further condensed by the daily papers, which will give you a summary of the summary of all that has been written about everything.

Oh wait. That was written over a hundred years ago. You kids today can't even come up with original bitching and whining!

http://xkcd.com/1227/ for some more interesting quotes!

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#44401125)

I know that XKCD, of course. And certainly you've a point. But research shows that the readers of papers are growing older. Here are some graphs (in Dutch):

http://www.journalismlab.nl/2013/02/hoe-oud-is-de-krantenlezer/ [journalismlab.nl]

The first graph depicts the average age of the reader (not necessarily the subscriber) of the papers, the last graph depicts the percentage of readers of free versus paid papers in each age group (red = free, blue = paid).

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#44403291)

Old fart here - I reserve a copy of the paper when I get breakfast at the cafe near work (twice a week), I come back and read it during lunch then leave it on the free magazine rack for others. If I don't reserve a copy then they are usually sold out by lunchtime. Of course the web is a much deeper and broader source of news than a city newspaper, but the morning paper and a frothy coffee is still a better way to relax.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44404335)

Old fart here - I reserve a copy of the paper when I get breakfast at the cafe near work (twice a week), I come back and read it during lunch then leave it on the free magazine rack for others. If I don't reserve a copy then they are usually sold out by lunchtime. Of course the web is a much deeper and broader source of news than a city newspaper, but the morning paper and a frothy coffee is still a better way to relax.

I find the physical paper a better way to get a summary of news I didn't care to seek out yesterday, to better myself and learn more about the world.

Online news is a pull medium - you have to see it out, then pull the articles you want. This results in people really reading just the articles that interest them. Other articles get passed by the wayside because they're not interesting enough.

A newspaper though presents both articles side by side so you can read the interesting ones, then skim the other ones just to see what's going on in the rest of the world. You can't really do this online - because skimming the news would require opening the uninteresting articles as well which most people don't do. It's certainly more work than just skimming the page. And sometimes an interesting photo draws your attention that you'd miss online.

Hell, I find it harder to find news online - it takes a lot more work. The only reasonable way I've found is news aggregators like /. and other sites, but they don't cover outside the field type articles.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44403513)

Considering the crap that manages to pass as news today, I'd only use a paper for fuel.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400571)

That said, there is a whole generation growing up who thinks the generic news with 5 lines of information and 2000 lines of unwarranted conclusions are the standard for news.

That's been true for centuries. Historically, most newspapers have always been unresearched trash and fluff. Did you forget the Maine? Never forget the Maine! Or something like that... Either way, the younger generation isn't stupider than yours; it's just younger.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44401749)

Either way, the younger generation isn't stupider than yours; it's just younger.

Badger jizz. I can do calculus, kinematics and statistics. My kids can barely count to twenty.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44402607)

Either way, the younger generation isn't stupider than yours; it's just younger.

Badger jizz. I can do calculus, kinematics and statistics. My kids can barely count to twenty.

Your fault.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

leaen (987954) | about a year ago | (#44404309)

Either way, the younger generation isn't stupider than yours; it's just younger.

Badger jizz. I can do calculus, kinematics and statistics. My kids can barely count to twenty.

And how good you could do calculus when you were five?

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44404715)

At least as well as you speak English.

But at least you got the joke, unlike that idiot icebike and the twerps who modded him up.

We subscribe to the "paper" paper (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44400655)

We only get the "paper" edition on Sundays, but I read the digital version (as they refer to it) daily. I was going to give up the print version completely; however there's essentially no cost advantage in doing so. Oh well, having newspaper around occasionally turns out to be useful, anyway.

I'm the only one who reads it, though. I don't really get why my wife and daughter aren't interested in the news (especially local news, which isn't effectively available elsewhere) - but it's obvious there are more people like them than there are people like me.

Re:We subscribe to the "paper" paper (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#44402015)

Stop giving the News attention and all News will cease to exist, except locally. Having News is part of our evolving language, without it we wouldn't have known where Mcafee was or Snowden; and we would've been no wiser.

Printed News is much more informative than Television News; or as the TV execs call it now: Entertainment. Or at least, a little more entertaining than watching Flies buzz around a decomposing carcase. Except Flies don't spread lies.

Re:We subscribe to the "paper" paper (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44402639)

We only get the "paper" edition on Sundays, but I read the digital version (as they refer to it) daily. I was going to give up the print version completely; however there's essentially no cost advantage in doing so. Oh well, having newspaper around occasionally turns out to be useful, anyway.

I don't find a lot of cost advantage in giving up the print version, but there is certainly a convenience advantage to having the digital version delivered to your device. You also don't end up with the 50% instant throw-away advertising sections in most Digital editions.

   

Re:We subscribe to the "paper" paper (1)

Christopher_T. (1857830) | about a year ago | (#44409249)

Everybody is geared differently. As far as news consumption, I wish it were otherwise. For purely selfish reasons, I enjoy intelligent conversation. (I am NOT disparaging your ladies! There are different sorts of intelligence.)

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44400839)

Yeah, that high quality print-news media. *snort*

With rare exception, traditional print news is as much a joke as 24x7 news channels.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44401019)

And that is different than a good 90% of the papers who are just buying from AP wire services...how exactly? I quit buying my local paper because all it was was wire stories and a bunch of op-ed crap that was so right wing that fascists would have said "Wow dude, maybe you're a little too hard core for our org".

so I really can't blame the kids because if more of the papers, which at least across the south I've found to be generally the case, are like ours why would you bother to pay for what you can get fresh from AP for free across a billions websites?

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44401101)

I prefer online news with a decent comment section open to the public. A physical paper is too one-sided, online people can point out any errors or misinformation, or simply add their version to the story. Much more useful.

For in-depth stories I prefer magazines, but I'm very selective with that too. I only read magazines where they tend to present both sides of the story, but there are very few of those unfortunately.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44404105)

In all fairness to your statement, you seem to be blind when it comes how the press/media cover "in-depth" reports. The fact you read tabloids, is disturbing, but sometimes they do (laughable) report things the mainstream press will not touch.

And for those that are a "whole generation growing up who thinks the generic news with 5 lines of information and 2000 lines of unwarranted conclusions are the standard for news" they are usually the ones that go on Google, or Yahoo, and read about some dip-shit celebrity, or sports star.

The mainstream media/press didn't report about the NSA and other agencies during the time they started and operated, but other lesser known actual respected online news outlets had been reporting and questioning the whole "terrorist" scheme, the laws, and funding being poured into a world wide surveillance program. Those include bills and other laws decoyed as something else. And again some tabloids do report about those things.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44405085)

Same here. In--depth articles and local news that even the local television station doesn't cover because they're too busy trying to be entertaining instead of informative.

Re:I'm still reading the paper on... paper (1)

erexx23 (935832) | about a year ago | (#44405345)

Agreed. Headline should read first millennials rediscover print, now feel even more entitled. The phrase "collect your information from as many sources as possible" heralds new era in information gathering. meh...

So you paid for it anyway (3, Insightful)

meekg (30651) | about a year ago | (#44400159)

How much did you pay for the paper?
How many physical ads in the paper were you "forced" to glance over?

On the bright side, at least your viewing habits were not tracked. (Probably!)

Re:So you paid for it anyway (1)

shipofgold (911683) | about a year ago | (#44401207)

Just today I renewed a subscription for 365 days of delivery to my front door. $228.00 gets me not only the news, but something to line the cat's litterbox, package filler, and tabletop protection for those messy kitchen table projects.

And the ad's don't jiggle, make noise, change color or otherwise become overtly obnoxious that I want to download Ad-Block. I don't mind a little advertising...sometimes I want to see what is out there.

Finally, I don't mind if my greasy fingers get on the paper.

Try killing a spider with a kindle...

Re:So you paid for it anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44404013)

Try killing a spider with a kindle...

It's not the killing that's a problem. It's the clean up after.

Re:So you paid for it anyway (1)

Alouster (2825639) | about a year ago | (#44401211)

No, all news papers with rough stories (stories that are not on the net) are tracked by the NSA. This requires a lot of resources but taqs possible subversives.

Re:So you paid for it anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44401295)

How many physical ads in the paper were you "forced" to glance over?

I don't know what papers you read, however for the adds I see

  • I do not have to wait for them to load
  • they are not used to split articles in half or even spread them across 10 "pages"
  • they are not placed randomly in the text
  • they are not animated
  • they are silent
  • they don't force me to find a way to click them away, just ignoring them and turning the page always work
  • some are even nicely separated on their own pages so I can just skip them - load time being not existent
    • I get nearly the same experience with addblock and noscript, however getting everything besides adds to work is annoying.

Re:So you paid for it anyway (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#44403335)

....And in an emergency you can wipe your arse with a newspaper, if you try that with an iPad you should ensure you have a plumber and shower on standby.

We still read the local paper ... (4, Interesting)

hedronist (233240) | about a year ago | (#44400173)

My wife and I still read the local rag (The Press Democrat) because, although we've read most of the national and international news online 1 or 2 (or sometimes even 3) days before, there are stories in Sonoma County (and parts north) that simply don't show up anywhere else. It used to be owned by the NY Times organization, but it was recently bought by a group of local investors who are emphasizing the Local News aspect.

We might switch to the electronic version of it, but we will not lose our need to know what's happening in our own community.

Mod parent up. (2)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#44400661)

... although we've read most of the national and international news online 1 or 2 (or sometimes even 3) days before, there are stories in Sonoma County (and parts north) that simply don't show up anywhere else.

That is what is killing the newspaper business (IMO). Anyone can get the AP stories instantly now. If something happens in Washington D.C. there will be dozens of identical reports about it.

If something happens in your town you might catch it on a local news show. Unless they're also busy covering what just happened in D.C.

A local paper can give you the local news and tell you what the local impact of whatever it was that just happened in D.C. will be.

But in order to do that, the local paper has to hire local reporters who have more knowledge/expertise than the average person. And it is cheaper to skip that and just buy the stories from the AP. And then fail because no one wants to pay for a paper when you've already read the content on your PC, iPad and phone.

Back in the day (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400179)

Before the WWW (and into the dotcom era), big city newspapers could afford to carry large staffs of professional reporters, so I bought a daily newspaper on the newstand more often than not (50 cents back then IIRC because they also had more ads). Often I couldn't finish a newspaper in one sitting so I'd fold it up and take it home, there used to be *lots* to read in the better papers.

Then Craigslist took away a lot of the ads, and people started getting their news online too. Newsroom layoffs became an annual occurrence.

A ghost of the past (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400199)

I think this is something that is going to change soon, too. Eventually, even newspapers will be found online. I mean, the only thing keeping paper printed news around is the fact that a large enough portion of the country still doesn't have a computer, like old people or the poor. Sooner or later, local news will migrate online, using ads and views to generate income enough to run the news, much like how the newspaper industry works now.

Even with that in mind, the amount of money made by local readers of local-only (or very specialized) news can't be enough to compete with free news, in my opinion.

Duh (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#44400217)

Reprinting the same stories as everyone else is cheap. Actually researching and writing your own stories costs money, particularly if you spend more than ten minutes on each one.

I'm amazed (5, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about a year ago | (#44400231)

Not at the summary not at TFA, but more that there is a market for golf crash injury victim lawyers.

Re:I'm amazed (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44401779)

There should be a rule 34 for lawyers: no matter how obscure or weird it is, there will be a lawyer that specializes in it.

Re:I'm amazed (1)

timothy (36799) | about a year ago | (#44409677)

There is, though! There are even ads for some of them right in the same section of the paper (of course ;)).

It's sad when people are badly injured, but many of the accidents described are related in funny police-blotter way.

the 'problem' with newspapers... (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#44400249)

is that the people that make the money decisions don't know the difference between a 'blog' and a 'news story'

it's all just 'text' to them...or 'content'

tech industry types may not understand the news business, but we sure as hell know the concept...

why is Microsoft so alienating to users? b/c it tries to make everything proprietary...locking users out of features!

this article, with it's notions of 'finding proprietary content to charge for' as a way to save newspapers...well...

it's the exact opposite!

the news business is a perfectly viable economic system...print on cheap paper, sell ads to make profit

done

enter the internet, where the 'content' is available w/o purchase

the author, and most news CEO's problem is that they see the internet as only a 'downside'...they don't see it as **another** option to connect to users

the internet requires alot of infrastructure to use...compared to a piece of paper...print is still viable even though the demand is lower now with the internet

the solution is threefold:

1. adjust expectations regarding how profitable 'news' can be

2. online ads that connect to the print ads/classifieds

3. repost redundant content rather than producing it in-house

I must credit TFA for #3...the author rightly sees that *some* of what your average daily newspaper does in the newsroom is redundant.

Newspapers as organizations should cut staff, but they should cut everyone *but* editors and writers....

Newspapers and magazines are very 'top heavy' with corporate structure and HR type stuff and it really cuts into the profit margins.

Re:the 'problem' with newspapers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400287)

why do you write that as a haiku?

Re:the 'problem' with newspapers... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44400405)

There is nothing wrong.

Using far too much linespacing.

Nor punctuation.

(Or capitalization)

Re:the 'problem' with newspapers... (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#44401269)

why do you write that as a haiku?

I don't...when I type it out it is tl;dr...then i go back and summarize....

that makes it look the way it does...I've tried to take a post that started with 6 or 7 paragraphs with full thesis statments and supporting sentences and put them into a readable format for /.'ers

i'm trying to dodge trollers while still taking a discernable position that could be debated...often I find myself resorting to the same tricks and shorthand humans use in verbal conversation...that's why i have non-standard pauses...i'm trying to mimic speech pauses which are able to convey more information..........you see?

i know my posting style is weird but it yields fewer trolling comments and more comments worth responding to

missing that lil sumthin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400255)

Sitting on mah porch in the sun, having a few beers and then sleepin with a paper newsie over mah face still isnt done good enough by a fondleslab

I'd pay for... (4, Interesting)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44400261)

An online paper with a set of sliders. That way I can choose to receive 70% hard news articles 20% book reviews and 10% human interest. On the human interest I can dial 0% celebrity gossip, 60% cat pictures and 40% heart warming stories of strangers helping old ladies.

Someone else can dial 70% showbiz, 20% financial and 10% international news.

OK so I may have made up these percentages and categories, but I think a tailor made paper like that could be successful.

Re:I'd pay for... (2)

dinfinity (2300094) | about a year ago | (#44400695)

Google News?

What I really want is a unified commenting service for news stories and then one that increases the salience of comments that add to the story. Slashdot comment system-like, but better. One of the most useful additions to me would be increasing the salience of (upvoted) user-contributed links (accompanied by a small description) and comments of the "Informative" kind.

As much as people may hate them, something like Google+ / Facebook could be good platforms for this. They aren't yet, as their simple like/+1 moderation scheme also allow information-free populistic one-liners to thrive.

Re:I'd pay for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44402825)

Google News?

Ever since those sliders showed up I've been convinced that they are not wired up to anything other than setting your ad "preferences".

Re:I'd pay for... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44404839)

The problem with online comments is that once you get a certain number of people commenting they just turn into a lowest common denominator sophistic mess.

Re:I'd pay for... (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | about a year ago | (#44406147)

The problem with online comments is that once you get a certain number of people commenting they just turn into a lowest common denominator sophistic mess.

Well, that is the way it is in a lot of systems currently.

I'm pretty sure that including things like automatically calculated scores for comments based on correct spelling, grammar, word use, sentence length, etc. would help allow filtering out a lot of crap. Make filtering on the score optional and there's no harm done, just the providing of an extra tool.
Sure, it may filter out some insightful comments that happen to be written in a terrible way, but in my experience those are very rare.
Something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automated_essay_scoring#Criteria_for_success [wikipedia.org]

Also, as mentioned before, the inclusion of a system to increase the salience of or ease of access to 'good' hyperlinks to other material would also greatly aid the speed with which the highest quality content on a subject can be found. Let's be honest: it's not seldom that TFA (or any news article anywhere) is a terribly crappy and limited version of the story. If I could see a list of the five 'best' links (containing the original research or best description of it, the most insightful blog-post on the matter, etc.) submitted in the comments, I'd probably never need to RTOriginalFA again.

Re:I'd pay for... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44401253)

Our local paper (The News Tribune, based in Tacoma, Washington) has an iPad app that, while it doesn't have the "sliders" you mention, divides the stories by categories - local news, national/world, sports, entertainment, etc. it's simple to see what you want to see and skip what you don't.

There is a "top stories" section that, like a newspaper front page, contains a hodge-lodge of items from all the other sections... but it's just a section like every other, and can be trivially ignored if you wish.

It's a reasonably well-designed app, using a framework from some company named Spreed, where someone put thought into how it would work well on the iPad rather than trying to mimic a printed paper. That seems like it should be obvious; but I've seen more newspapers inexplicably try to force their print design on the web (like the gosh-awful "Olive" framework many papers use) than not.

Re:I'd pay for... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44401291)

An online paper with a set of sliders. That way I can choose to receive 70% hard news articles 20% book reviews and 10% human interest. On the human interest I can dial 0% celebrity gossip, 60% cat pictures and 40% heart warming stories of strangers helping old ladies.

Someone else can dial 70% showbiz, 20% financial and 10% international news.

OK so I may have made up these percentages and categories, but I think a tailor made paper like that could be successful.

but a newspaper like that is useless, treating news like they're a bucket to pick content from by the kilo.

oh wait I think that explains the downfall of news.. the editors think like that and the bucket is the international newsfeeds. I mean, might just as well read reuters directly.

I will pay... (1)

i (8254) | about a year ago | (#44400311)

I will pay for news which are:

1. Interesting.

2. I didn't know already.

3. Is researched with background facts documented.

4. Is well written.

But this requires skilled reporters and writers. Which you have to pay for ! Something to think of for publishers ?
 

News worth *buying*? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#44400321)

There isn't any, in any format. Besides, there isn't any 'news' reporting anymore. Its all about bias and commentary, not raw facts.

Re:News worth *buying*? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44400859)

Exactly. Get some paper and a pen out and go dig through your local paper. Remove the ads, the bullshit "Metro" and "Living" and "Sports" and "Weather" sections. Scratch out the comics and classifieds. Scratch out all of the re-printed AP stories. Now, slice out most of the Business section which is just shallow repeats of what is already elsewhere. Same for the National/World news stuff.

What you're left with is pretty anorexic.

Re:News worth *buying*? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about a year ago | (#44401601)

It's not just biased. It's complete propaganda. Why should anyone pay to have their opinions warped into someone elses?

I would pay. But newspapers do it wrong. (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44400337)

The development in news is kinda disheartening. I can't talk about your country, obviously, in mine we get more and more of low quality papers, some being pushed onto you for free (literally. You open your door and there's a newspaper hanging on your doorknob, not that you ever signed up for one). You can pick up newspapers on your way to work in the subway or at the train station. For free.

Quality-wise you're dealing with the worst kind of bull that you could possibly think of. 99% opinion, 1% weather forecast and quiz page. Of course, you cannot SELL a newspaper like this. Never. Not only do I get that kind of crap pushed in my face (literally...), I can get the same kind of "quality" (and even better) online.

I think if you want to SELL your news, you have to deliver quality. Give me information. Not opinion, not yellow press nonsense, not articles that were copy/pasted from some online news source or some news agency, i.e. the same crap I can get for free (and often get whether I want to have it or not). Give me well researched articles that go beyond the surface, on topics that actually matter. Do an exclusive interview with an interesting person, a politician with a vision (who doesn't just repeat whatever bull his party wants to spew), report about stuff that matters, send a reporter there and ask the people around for their view. Ignore the "official" bull and dig deeper.

THAT is what journalism is about. For everything else, I already have more than I could possibly want, and I will most certainly not pay for it. If anything, you'd have to pay me to be better than the rest of the crap.

Re:I would pay. But newspapers do it wrong. (2)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#44400793)

Give me information. Not opinion, not yellow press nonsense, not articles that were copy/pasted from some online news source or some news agency, ...

I'd be okay with opinions as long as the bias was clearly stated and the facts were presented to support it.

Do an exclusive interview with an interesting person, a politician with a vision (who doesn't just repeat whatever bull his party wants to spew), report about stuff that matters, send a reporter there and ask the people around for their view.

And focus on the LOCAL material. What are the LOCAL politicians doing? What LOCAL impacts will there be? And it is fine to have a bias in that reporting. As long as it is a bias and not partisanship.

And do NOT turn it into a fake "fight" between different reporters. I do not care about reporter-A's opinion of reporter-B's opinion of politician-C's latest statement. I don't care for "reporters" repeating talking-points.

Ignore the "official" bull and dig deeper.

And always "follow the money". Follow the family connections.

Re: I would pay. But newspapers do it wrong. (2)

lymond01 (314120) | about a year ago | (#44400803)

This is what I was going to say. I'd pay for well researched news on major events instead of the speculation and opinion sites put out in the first 30 seconds of hearing about something.

Re: I would pay. But newspapers do it wrong. (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about a year ago | (#44401165)

Everyone says that, but a basic fact of the universe says that it is vastly cheaper and easier to deliver unprocessed information than it is to deliver carefully filtered and processed information. In other words: by the time your well researched news is ready to be printed it is no longer news and it will have cost a lot of money to research and write.

Another thing to keep in mind is that in-depth journalism is more or less political, because the filtering and processing of the information is done by people who have political opinions and biases.

I think a good news source needs a mix of minute by minute reporting and investigative journalism to be viable.

Re: I would pay. But newspapers do it wrong. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44403147)

Everyone says that, but a basic fact of the universe says that it is vastly cheaper and easier to deliver unprocessed information than it is to deliver carefully filtered and processed information. In other words: by the time your well researched news is ready to be printed it is no longer news and it will have cost a lot of money to research and write.

Which is why I don't pay for news anymore....

No (1)

NorthWay (1066176) | about a year ago | (#44400369)

There is a weekly paper her in Norway called Morgenbladet (probably named from the time yonks ago when it was daily) that seems to do actual journalism.

But apart from that, I prefer olds instead of news: Retro Gamer. New magazines all write about the same things, RG write about totally different stuff (and which actually takes some reporting and investigating to find out).

Re:No (1)

h3st (945000) | about a year ago | (#44401683)

I subscribe to Morgenbladet and I'm trying out some subscriptions on a kindle now after having pushed a lot of articles to it via readability or instapaper. Figured if I push a lot of their articles, might as well subscribe—they're not as expensive as daily newspapers and I guess a little fiscal stimulus doesn't hurt.

The news (and opinions) I'm willing to pay for don't seem to come out on a daily basis.

You will pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400383)

Every time I read one of these stories saying "will you pay" or "content should be free" I shake my head. Yes you can get some decent wire service reporting, but if you want the type of in-depth reporting about international affairs, economics or local affairs that can take you beyond a 140 letter understanding, you are going to need to buy content. FT, Economist, New Yorker, NYT etc. I personally subscribe to my local paper and the NYT on line, and am happy to do so, as I seem to be able to grasp that generating real content requires real reporters who get paid actual money and actually leave their cubicle. For those who argue that there is still content out there, that is true, but the high quality content is getting rarer and rarer. And of course there's plenty of garbage out there for free. Which leads me to point two, which is that if society as a whole continues to refuse to pay for content creation, then society as a whole will pay in other ways as more and more people get less critical analysis, more partisan opinion and more manipulation. People criticize the media for bias but oh boy, social media is just unadulterated lies. Just like your facebook account, mostly everything fed into social media during times of crisis fits a narrative and is carefully managed.

For example I tuned into the Turkey protests via social media. Total joke. Both sides have become adept at choosing and publishing images, videos and words that support their narrative. When #occupygezi publishes a picture of a pool of blood on the ground or a severely injured protester being cared for in an ad hoc clinic, they are emotional and raw but what am I really looking at? Who is the relatively independent observer who is trying to put these events in context, verify timelines, put local events into a broader perspective? Who is explaining the motivations, backstories and competing interests? A paid journalist, that's who.

Re:You will pay (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44400609)

The problem is that it is a cycle for newspapers:

1: They go cheap on local news, buying AP articles, or just making some report on the English royal baby, the next iPhone rumor, some celeb in rehab, or A-Rod's latest antics. Stuff that would make them worth reading gets shelves for filler.

2: People move to other sources because the same pictures of $CELEB in rehab are on the Net for free, as opposed to having to pay something.

3: Said site starts more with a paywall, or having more intrusive ads.

4: More people ditch for other sources.

Of course, it seems like the only well-funded sources that cover anything meaningful are the government propaganda sites. However, if they have nothing to be gained on slanting an article, it might be some merit to reading it.

The cautious exception is Al Jazeera. They seem to be trying to play it cautiously, so in some items, their news is surprisingly unbiased, although one always has to have that grain of salt handy.

Government News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400421)

No, I haven't had any use for the news hardcopies for years.

I do read the online news of the tax-funded Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), who are turning into a general media organization. In the end, it may be that there's no money in news so the whole "business" will be left to the governments. I'm fine by that.

Facts vs. news reporting (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#44400461)

Raw facts are easy to report. I suspect most people get that from more direct sources rather than conventional news outlets. What the news outlets need to do is start doing the legwork, the analysis, the digging that goes beyond the raw facts.

Example: here in San Diego there's a flap over the mayor being accused of sexual harassment. What makes me raise an eyebrow is the line-up on the accusing side (the city attorney the mayor embarrassed by chewing her and her department out over her prosecution of the BofA "sidewalk chalk vandal" case, the opponent who lost to the mayor in the last election) and the distinct lack of charges/complaints filed by actual victims. What I'd love to see is what newspapers and news reporters used to dig up: who are the actual victims (in general terms, if not naming actual names), what they accuse the mayor of actually doing, who convinced them to make the accusations, are there any other witnesses to the behavior and what do they say about it, what does the mayor say about specific incidents when pressed on them. You know, all the interesting information behind the story. But none of that makes the papers or the TV news reports. Is it any wonder then that I don't have much use for the conventional news outlets? They're good for the weather report and not much else.

Re:Facts vs. news reporting (1)

Mandrel (765308) | about a year ago | (#44401049)

Unique content can be so much more than such stories behind the stories. Take the New York Times. The stories I read there aren't usually reporting, analyzing, or offering an opinion about current events that everyone else is covering. Instead they're descriptions of social or economic trends, or about new and interesting but little-known things in the sciences, arts, or business.

Market Size? (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year ago | (#44400551)

If you go hyperlocal enough, how big is your market, and does that justify the cost of printing papers and distributing them?

The bigger question for me is, what is the future of investigative journalism? Will we have a media that is available globally, that asks the questions people in power (corporate, state, religious) don't want asked? And how to we pay for that - is there enough of a market there?

Most newspapers (1)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#44400635)

Are nothing more than corporate dreck disguised as 'news' and padded with copious ads and fliers. If I want specialized news, I'll take a blog written by an expert, sans advertising - consumed on a tablet or e-reader.

The Guardian Weekly (3, Informative)

tulcod (1056476) | about a year ago | (#44400821)

The Guardian Weekly is, in my opinion, a great weekly paper with many in-depth articles, most of which from an objective point of view. And even if they are subjective, this is usually clear, and gives another interesting view on the matter. The news is "worldly" (ie. not about Justin Bieber's latest haircut) and the result of a careful selection of the most interesting pieces from various other newspapers.

More importantly, because it is a weekly paper (and on top of that a tabloid), the amount of fillers is seriously reduced, and all articles are newsworthy and readable.

Mr Burns: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400879)

Blah! I only buy my news on Stone Tablets. This flimsy paper you speak of is just a fad.

Local and non-local news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44400925)

Living in Wales, I try to pick up the weekly Welsh-language paper Y Cymro exactly because it covers stories that the BBC and UK daily papers don't bother with. Similarly, an Irish/French/Spanish/whatever newspaper offers a more global viewpoint on some news stories (though these often have online editions as well).

For how long...? (3, Insightful)

tgv (254536) | about a year ago | (#44400929)

For how long will real newspapers exist if the readers want everything for free online? And when will they notice that all these interesting stories, ranging from PRISM to Syria were actually being written by paid journalists? When will the blindingly obvious implication that a world without investigative journalism is a dictatorship hit them?

And now someone like Henry Blodget is trying to say that newspapers need stuff that can't be found elsewhere to survive, which basically means to become the local gossiping outlet? He should be ashamed of himself.

Re:For how long...? (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#44402355)

"Real" newspapers don't exist already.

So called "news" papers nowadays are 50% "editorial opinion" (i.e. made up bullshit), 25% advertising, 20% "human interest" (i.e. celebrity gossip), and 5% left over for actual content worth reading. The online versions are no better.

"Real" news is dead in North America.

Re:For how long...? (1)

tgv (254536) | about a year ago | (#44404273)

Don't know where you live, but it's a lot better over here: The Netherlands still has a few half-decent newspapers left.

Re:For how long...? (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | about a year ago | (#44404935)

And now someone like Henry Blodget is trying to say that newspapers need stuff that can't be found elsewhere to survive, which basically means to become the local gossiping outlet?

That's your conclusion, not his.

Investigative journalism is indeed unique content - the product of unique real people with the investigative skills to unearth and develop these stories. Watergate didn't hit the news via a syndicated Whitehouse press release.

You're also going to find more compelling content in media that is published less frequently, or in occasional rather than daily editorials. At web-speed you're just going to get a firehose of daily chatter.

Re:For how long...? (1)

tgv (254536) | about a year ago | (#44405517)

The problem is that the output of investigative journalism quickly crosses over to all other news outlets, which makes it (in Henry B's view) not unique enough for buying. Prism, Syria, Egypt, drone killing, you name it, it came from paid news sources, but was freely available online within a day or two, so Henry doesn't think it's necessary to pay.

I read the local papers (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#44400957)

I still read the very local papers that have very specific news connected to the local area as that kind of news isn't readily available online.
But these are only published once a week and are distributed free to the area they serve.

I dont pay for newspapers or news content, most of my "general news" comes either from watching news on free-to-air TV (especially on the ad-free national government-run broadcaster, the ABC) or from reading online news sites (again I read the ABC news website a lot)

hi (-1, Offtopic)

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lwn.net (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44401071)

Worth every penny.

Local newspapers will survive in an online age (1)

SeanDS (1039000) | about a year ago | (#44401091)

This is why Warren Buffett is buying up local newspapers across the US. Online newspapers can only make money by reaching a large audience for the purposes of advertisements. Local newspapers survive because they provide local journalism that the national newspapers just aren't interested in (and rightly so - they can't make money from it). Local newspapers will survive for a long time, either in print form or in online subscription form, because there is an audience willing to pay for the news.

Re:Local newspapers will survive in an online age (1)

qIroS (597071) | about a year ago | (#44401389)

Exactly. I pay for my (weekly) local newspaper. Where my mum lives, they have a weekly print newspaper too, but there it's also available in either a subscription or one-off PDF each week, so sometimes I buy that PDF if there's a story in I want to read, as the local newspapers only sell in a relatively small geographic area. I wish my local paper did PDF too, I'd buy it like that. But, until then, I buy the print version. There's lots to read that you just can't get elsewhere, and the websites for these local papers only report national and regional headlines, they don't put any of the local content on their website at all.

I hope they survive.... (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about a year ago | (#44402461)

..but have my doubts. Our local paper just abandoned their building for much smaller digs. I appreciate their local coverage, but I know their circulation and revenue are way down. I agree there's a need for local reporting, but am not sure how it will be paid for.

What will I pay for? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44401123)

1. I will pay for quality, in-depth reporting that is factual and truthful. The truthful qualifier is especially important. If you look at the reporting of a given event you will see many, many facts used to paint wildly different pictures. If you're not painting a truthful picture, I don't want your product. Some people like to believe these are ideological differences, but they aren't. They're ideological agendas being pushed onto actual events that have nothing to do with the agenda. I'm not paying for that shit.

2. I will pay for niche reporting. Again with the quality required from any other organization.

3. I will pay to get rid of ads. Ads cost me more money than subscriptions.

4. I will pay for local reporting. Unfortunately the local reporting everywhere I've ever lived seems to be done by amateurs and is funded through advertising. That model doesn't serve my needs.

Re:What will I pay for? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44404631)

I will pay to get rid of ads. Ads cost me more money than subscriptions.

Compulsive shopper or slow reader?

Local newspapers are worth buying (1)

qIroS (597071) | about a year ago | (#44401405)

I pay for my (weekly) local newspaper. Where my mum lives, they have a weekly print newspaper too, but there it's also available in either a subscription or one-off PDF each week, so sometimes I buy that PDF if there's a story in I want to read, as the local newspapers only sell in a relatively small geographic area. I wish my local paper did PDF too, I'd buy it like that. But, until then, I buy the print version. There's lots to read that you just can't get elsewhere, and the websites for these local papers only report national and regional headlines, they don't put any of the local content on their website at all.

Advantages of Paper (4, Funny)

ATestR (1060586) | about a year ago | (#44401495)

We buy a Sunday paper almost every week because it's really hard to line the bird cage using a flat screen monitor.

Google is not as effective as it used to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44402019)

"...googling for which only seems to bring up ads for lawyers..."

That's because Google doesn't really work anymore. It used to return even obscure results, but strangely accurate. About three years ago I noticed a change: Google now returns mostly the popular results - so one can no longer use it to find what you really want unless you are searching for what everyone else wants.

We get the paper in spite of of itself (1)

landofcleve (1959610) | about a year ago | (#44402221)

There's only one major 'real' newspaper in Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch has most people finish reading it disagreeing with half of what they read and vice versa. We get to support the dwindling presence of journalism in this country. This paper also has the rare quality of not being owned by a national corporation and reports on metro and state affairs from a local point of view. Considering that there are many bloggers and web 'journalists' that try very hard to do a good job and live up to journalistic standards, most of them don't have the credentials to participate in the process the way that credentialed members of journalism can. Until that time, we buy the paper, read it and are at least aware of what is happening around us even if we don't like the reporting on it. /don't watch local news though, cuz it's not journalism

You get what you pay for (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#44402843)

I spent a lot of time reading free news online, and I have to say you get what you pay for (present company excluded, of course.)

Much online news seems like it was written by unpaid interns at media companies who are on tight deadlines. There's a reason for that.

Investigative journalism (2)

crossmr (957846) | about a year ago | (#44402887)

If news companies want to make money they should do more than reprint the same stories that everyone else is running from the wire service.

Getting reporters to actually work and dig up stories and write about interesting angles, so that they provide unique useful stories, and then they might have something worth selling.

Want readers? Specialize. (1)

singularity (2031) | about a year ago | (#44403341)

Nothing annoys me more than trying to find news about something local and finding that the online local news source has covered their front page with (inter-)national news.

If your small-town newspaper has a website, remember that it is competing with CNN.com, BBC.com, nytimes.com, and everything else. Chances are you not going to do better international news than the "big boys". You are going to be carrying the same AP story as everyone else.

So where can you compete? The local news that CNN, et al, are not going to carry. Do not make your readers search your site just to get the local coverage they are looking for.

Places like WickedLocal.com (in Massachusetts) have it figured out, probably because most Massachusetts local newspapers did *not* figure it out. Patch.com is trying to do this on a bigger scale.

The only news publication worth buying in print (1)

Phocas (147850) | about a year ago | (#44403659)

is The Economist.

Re:The only news publication worth buying in print (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407465)

Yes. Well researched, written, wordy, and WRONG. A bunch of navel gazers who start with incorrect assumptions.

I still read paper papers (3, Interesting)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#44403985)

I'm as hardcore geek as they come and I still prefer to read the weekend paper as paper because:

1) I like to read it with my saturday breakfast. A laptop, tablet or phone just is a pain for this and I'd smudge it up with my greasy paws anyway.

2) The natural flow and visual arrangement of a newspaper just works better in an absolutely defined space than it does in the maleability of an HTML document.

3) Computers distract you with a million things and constantly shine bright lights in your eyes. Paper is much better for reading any works of even moderate length because it does one thing and is gentle on the eyes.

Papers will still be around for a long time, mainly because of point #3. Certainly not in the numbers they once were, but technology natrually has a way of forcing once-ubiqutous things into niches. Think of cars vs. horses, movies vs. live theatre and now computers vs. paper.

Convenience (1)

psymastr (684406) | about a year ago | (#44404403)

I read the news on paper for the same reason I read books on paper: It's more convenient reading on paper than reading on the screen.

Local music concerts calendar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44405197)

I like classical music. I stopped reading the LA Times except for an occaisional pickup of a tossed section at a restaraunt over 10 years ago. But, I can't find on-line a decent listing of upcoming classified music concerts in Los Angeles.

Come to think of it, that was one of the reasons I stopped buying the Sunday Times. They scaled back their Arts and Performance section and Calendar.

I have ALWAYS been against buying newspapers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44405365)

I read the news a lot now but only because it's available free on the internet.

Information should not be a commodity, folks and I knew this before anyone ever heard of this 'internet' thing.

The reason I never followed the news before the internet is because I REFUSED TO BUY NEWSPAPERS.

And you should too.

I mean it's ridiculous.

C'mon.

How editors think (really) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406555)

Reporter, with 20+ years in the business. Editors' news judgement is mostly driven by not getting complaints. Complaints come from people who already know something, and want to know why it's not in the paper; no one ever calls to complain that something they don't know isn't in the paper. So the senior citizens spelling bee MUST be covered; volunteers delivering flowers to cancer patients MUST be covered; the county fair MUST be covered. Meanwhile, stories such as how much data schools are gathering and storing languishes (it was turned in a week before the NSA thing broke), a story about the EPA fining a local refinery (and refineries nationwide) millions of dollars a year for not blending its fuel with cellulose-based ethanol that doesn't exist gets dropped because editors don't think it's important. And a story I pitched about our state's new law allowing concealed carry in public buildings might be negated because insurance companies are threatening to drop liability coverage is ignored (you might have seen a similar story in the New York Times about two weeks after I brought up the idea).

In America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407493)

We don't teach many of our children how to read. Children who can read might find information on their own. They might question the status quo. Unfortunately, illiterate children have no use for newspapers.

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