Don’t Give Away ALL your News for Free?

“Though it may seem counterintuitive in the online era, we want to reward paying customers,” Nancy Barnes, Star Tribune Editor.

Seems like the news industry is finally getting the point. Giving all your news away for free will eventually put you out of business.
I don’t think much of the Associated Press response – Demanding special search treatment from Google and going after aggregators who poach previously published material that the public can already see.

But the Minneapolis Star Tribune, last week, started holding back some content from its online editions.
Breaking news, sports scores, general news stories still get posted.

Nancy Barnes, Strib Editor defined this “print exclusive” content this way:

What types of stories will we hold back? Investigative projects, deeply reported nonbreaking news stories, beautifully written feature stories — whatever content we think print readers might value most.

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For a strong newspaper like the Star Tribune, it is a strategy that might work. For other papers, it might be a wake up call. Especially, if you are not producing enough strong investigative and enterprise content to make your paper and online offerings different.
I’ve been saying it for months now. We DO need new business models, but more importantly, we need to become better content producers. People will buy papers, watch television, even pay for content, when the story is compelling.


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