Blowing Through The Paywalls In My Mind

Feh.   So the Seattle Times,   which had topped my previous list of newspapers without paywalls,  has announced that they will be implementing a paywall in mid-March.   It appears to me they are directly emulating the strategy the Los Angeles Times used.    I admit that I miss reading the LA Times,   but I really have mostly broken my habit of visiting that site since they began charging $3.99/week for digital access.   The Seattle Times would give me a Sunday-only home delivered dead tree paper and throw in digital access for only $3.15/week.   Which suggests to me that like their counterparts in EL Lay,  the owners of the Seattle Times just don’t understand how to create a viable business model in the Internet era.    If they offered digital access (with no dead tree paper delivery) for twenty bucks a year,  I would sign right up and consider it money well spent.    But  $13.55/month with dead trees on Sundays (which is to say $163/year) or $17.16/$206  per month/year if I don’t want any dead tress delivered to my door is simply more than I can or will pay for news and information.

While I miss the El Lay Times a bit,  I find I don’t miss the New York Times at all.    I follow a couple of their handles on Twitter,  and occasionally I do read NY Times pieces that they have tweeted.   Accessing stories from Twitter seems to completely bypass their paywall.    And an occasional story via Twitter seems to be enough for me.    I suspect when the Seattle Times goes away next month I will find myself checking out the local television news web sites  (KING, KOMO, KIRO and Q-13-FOX)  as well as the PI and Crosscut.  The Tacoma News Tribune has recently put up a paywall that limits you to 15 free views per month.    I rarely bother to take them.  The News Tribune seems to be priced a bit lower than the Times,  but it is still far more money than I can or will spend to read the news.  Here then is an updated list of free news paper web sites:

The Seattle PI

The Washington Post

The Christian Science Monitor

The Houston Chronicle

The Chicago Tribune

The Times Picayune

The Plain Dealer

The Oregonian

The Boston Herald

The Knoxville Sentinel

The Fresno Bee

The Austin Statesman

The Miami Herald

The Las Vegas Sun

The Guardian (UK)

Getting The News Outside of the El Lay and NY Paywalls

So today the Los Angeles Times followed the New York Times behind a paywall.    I had previously been a regular reader of the New York Times.   I first found the little pop-ups telling me that I had viewed # of the 20 free stories I was allowed this month annoying.    After a couple of months of reading most of my free allowance,   I stopped visiting the New York Times web site at all.   Indeed,  when  New York put up the paywall,  I started using the Los Angeles Times more often.  El Lay’s paywall implementation was quite different than New York’s.   On the day it became effective,  visiting the site brought you to a sign up screen.   None of the annoying pop ups warning that you are reading up your allowance.    And honestly,  the 99 cents they demanded is far from a prohibitive price point,  even for people whose budgets are as limited as mine is.

What stopped me from signing up and forking over my credit card number is the fact that nowhere did I see any mention whatsoever about what the regular price would be after the 99 cent month is over.   Having worked in an industry that was built around recurring monthly charges to consumer credit cards,  I am all too well aware of horror stories from folks who signed up to pay a small fee for something and ended up getting billed for months or years for something else they had not intended to buy and pay for.    For the moment,  I am getting my news from newspapers that don’t have pay walls.   Here is a list of some of my favorites.    Do you read newspapers online?    Which ones?   Leave a comment and let me know and I will add it to this list.

The Seattle Times

The Seattle PI

The Washington Post

The Christian Science Monitor

The Houston Chronicle

The Chicago Tribune

The Times Picayune

The Plain Dealer

The Oregonian

The Boston Herald

The Knoxville Sentinel

The Fresno Bee

The Austin Statesman

The Miami Herald

The Guardian (UK)