“Put simply, journalism is not music.” — Gabriel Sherman, Slate
Some newspaper owners are buzzing about a new idea to save newspapers that emerged in Time this week: Walter Isaacson’s “How to Save Your Newspaper.”
In this article, Isaacson proposed an idea some newspaper honchos have been informally kicking around. It would involve readers paying for stories, similar to the way consumers pay for music on iTunes.
Slate’s Gabriel Sherman is skeptical, as am I.
In his article, “Micro Economics: Why Steve Jobs and micropayments won’t save the media,” Sherman points out several problems with the idea. But, in my opinion, the most salient is this: articles are not music.
Think about your iPod. How often do you listen to the same song? (If you’re like me, hundreds of times.)
Now, how often do you read a newspaper article.
There is probably a stark contrast there.
Newspapers have experimented and failed with paid online subscriptions. It’s not the answer, because 1) Not everybody is doing it, and 2) Bloggers will leak all of the important information inside for free.
I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board on this one.