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: