Daily Archives: March 28, 2011

All The News That’s Fit To … Pay For?

Published March 28, 2011

While it might not be the invention of the printing press, today is a seminal day for journalism. The New York Times unveils a metered online paywall this afternoon.

The proliferation of Internet news and its effect on traditional news outlets is a well-told story: The Web has shifted readers but hasn’t replaced revenue, creating a crisis for the industry.

Stop the presses, the Times' paywall is going into effect. (Blue Mountains Library - Local Studies/Flickr)

Stop the presses, the Times' paywall is going into effect. (Blue Mountains Library - Local Studies/Flickr)

Many local newspapers have already erected paywalls. For instance, for this morning’s Hubbub roundup I wanted to link to a Cape Cod Times article on the refuse from a New Hampshire sewage treatment plant washing up on Cape beaches and an article from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette on a local kid making the Kansas City Royals. Both articles are behind metered paywalls and I thought the paywall might aggravate Hubbub readers, so I left them out. Should I have included them? It’s a wholly new journalism question. Readers around the region will continue to ask similar pay-for-news questions when the Globe changes its online structure this fall.

Of course, there’s some irony here: WBUR is fundraising this week in order to pay for the journalism we produce here — both on the radio and online. Many people already feel compelled to pay for public media. Many people pay to subscribe to the Times’ print edition. Is there a pay-for-news line for you?

Will you pay for news that was once free? Will you pay for content from arguably the world’s most important paper, but not from anywhere else? Will you pay for the BostonGlobe.com? Do you pay for CapeCodTimes.com or Telegram.com?


Monday Morning: Love That Dirty Water

Published March 28, 2011

State public health officials say that they’ve found a very low concentration of radioactive iodine in a sample of rainwater collected in Boston last week. The contamination is apparently linked to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

To be clear, officials say they’re not worried about the reading and that tests of the Quabbin reservoir, which supplies water to much of Greater Boston, came back negative.

Almost a town unto itself, Harvard University is grappling with the same problem cities and towns across the country are facing: retiree benefits. Harvard stands to be on the hook for almost $1 billion in medical coverage next year, comparable to the obligations of a mid-size city, according to the Globe.

The state Transportation department is pushing ahead with plans to build a commuter rail station near Blue Hill Ave. in Dorchester, despite opposition from some local residents.

I hope you’re enjoying the wonderful, free online content you’re reading right now; the New York Times’ paywall goes into effect today. The newspaper will allow online users to read 20 articles a month at no charge. For $15, users can have unlimited access to the Times’ online content — “about what you pay for a cocktail in Manhattan,” as WBUR’s Curt Nickisch said. On Point will dive into the paywall debate at 10 a.m.

With the Boston teams knocked out early, or not even invited to dance in the first place, UConn is left to carry New England’s March Madness banner. The men’s team continued an improbable run to the Final Four after surviving a tight one against Arizona Saturday. The women’s team continued its awesome, yet expected, march in the women’s bracket. They punched a ticket to the Elite Eight after a surprisingly close win over Georgetown Sunday.

What we’re following: We’ll continue to report on the radiation readings found in Boston as well as the health care crisis facing both the Boston Catholic Archdiocese and local colleges.