“…has quit subscribing to the New York Times, because if it doesn’t see fit to charge for its content, I’d feel like a fool paying for it.” So Isaacson (former Time managing editor, current CEO of The Aspen Instiute, and a self-described “old print junkie”) writes in a Time piece titled, “How To Save Your Newspaper.”
The key to attracting online revenue, I think, is to come up with an iTunes-easy method of micropayment. We need something like digital coins or an E-ZPass digital wallet — a one-click system with a really simple interface that will permit impulse purchases of a newspaper, magazine, article, blog or video for a penny, nickel, dime or whatever the creator chooses to charge.
Charging for content forces discipline on journalists: they must produce things that people actually value. I suspect we will find that this necessity is actually liberating. The need to be valued by readers — serving them first and foremost rather than relying solely on advertising revenue — will allow the media once again to set their compass true to what journalism should always be about.
Head over to our News Meeting to discuss another idea for “Saving Your Newspaper” — endowments— that has been a hot topic of late.Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.