I knew it would happen sooner or later.
I would begin to pay for online access to news.
As I've mentioned before, I am more or less an online news junkie. I read perhaps a dozen different newspapers online every day, and the Internet has provided the news I read for free, aside from the cost of having the Internet itself available.
Back in the summer of 2009 I wrote a column that was headlined "Paying for online news is only fair." Although newspapers, except a very few, have continued to provide "free news" to the world, I think they have a right _ if they want to _ to ask for payment for the service that they provide.
Now, in reality, most newspapers that publish news online make some money by showing advertisements with the news articles, just like they do in their paper-based distribution systems. So, it's not like they are getting absolutely nothing from their online readers.
But the amount of income from online ads has always been much less than that from ink-and-paper-based ads. And newspapers in general are not doing as well as they did in the old days. By "old days," I mean before the Internet, and "new media" changed the world.
However, the costs of providing the professional news content to fill up those newspapers has not dwindled, as has the revenue coming into the news business.
So, if we want to continue to get good quality news reports, we readers have to expect to contribute to the cause. After all, newspapers, at least the great majority of them, are businesses that have to make a profit for their owners. It's simple. No profit, no newspapers. At least, no good ones.
And remember, every time you pick up a newspaper at the newsstand, you're leaving some spare change there anyway, right?
Therefore, I have decided this: if I want to read an online paper, and if the paper asks me to support it by subscribing, and if I perceive that the value of its news is worth the amount of money that the paper asks for, then I will do it.
Of course, if all the online papers start charging, I may have to reduce my news-gobbling appetite to some degree. After all, I am an old retired guy, and money doesn't grow on trees, as they say.
And remember, I am weighing the asking price against the value I place on the product, so if the publishers get carried away with pricing, then they get zilch from me. This is an important concept for them to keep in mind. I know that although the cost of providing the content is high, the cost of Internet distribution is extremely low, compared to delivering newspapers.
After all this ruminating, I'm getting to the real point now. The New York Times, my all-time-favorite, most-respected newspaper, has begun to ask online readers to subscribe, and pay real money. Sort of. I guess. More or less. If you want to.
It may be a tentative request, but it is a legitimate request. It will let a reader see 20 stories a month for free, and if you get there via a link from another website, that's OK, too. You can still read the story. And, the front page is still free, as are section fronts.
It tried an online pay strategy a couple years ago, and backed off from it after a while. It looks like it may still be a little gun-shy from that effort.
Also, its pay wall has a lot of holes in it. Getting around it is childishly simple. I won't go into details about that here, but if you Google something like "hacking the New York Times pay wall," you will get about a quarter million links.
The gory details? The basic cost is $15 every four weeks. I think that's kind of high for an online subscription, but I'll go for it, just because it's the New York Times, which is the world's friend. Anybody else who wants me to be an online subscriber better be substantially below that.
So I ponied up my credit card, and now it will get my money. Good for it.
Hopefully, in the long run, good for me and everyone else who wants to read good news reporting, too.
Bruce Endries is former systems manager at The Daily Star. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/techgp.
I knew it would happen sooner or later.
Celebrating Passover away from home: Local groups offer students opportunities
"You shall keep this as a rule for you and your children for all time. When you shall enter the land which the LORD will give you as he promised, you shall observe this rite. Then, when your children ask you, 'What is the meaning of this rite?' you shall say, 'It is the LORD's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.' " --Exodus 12:24-27.Continued ...
The history of Passover
According to the book of Exodus, the Jews had lived in oppression in Egypt for 430 years.Continued ...
DIY car care: Mechanic offers tips on vehicle maintenance
Americans, especially those in rural or suburban areas, depend upon their automobiles.Continued ...
Horses that heal
Along with working, competition and transportation, as well as being coveted companion animals for pleasure riding, horses add the magic of healing to their many talents.Continued ...
We are surrounded by a glut of tempting foods. It can be found in grocery stores, convenience stores, even the local gas station. However, if we are not paying attention, we can plunge into the trap of highly processed food, and health problems.Continued ...
- Celebrating Passover away from home: Local groups offer students opportunities
- Around The Arts
Volunteers are the SWAT of the arts world
When you work at an arts organization, particularly a nonprofit, employees often wear many hats -- accomplishing the duties that appear in the traditional job description, and then some. It happens everywhere. It's a running joke among people who work at nonprofits. There is too much to do, and not enough people to do it. That's when you call in the back up -- SWAT if you will.Continued ...
Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects
As I sit here writing this, the holiday glow is still going strong (my column deadline is two weeks before the publication date), and I've been spending a great deal of time not only with my daughter, but her stuff. We're incredibly lucky to have a loving network of family and friends that spoil her, so I've been merging her new goodies with her old.Continued ...
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.Continued ...
The art of the appraisal explained by one who knows
So often in this column my co-writer, Brittany, and I talk about how art is everywhere and can be appreciated by all. Perhaps because of my passion for everyday art, there is one part of the art world I just cannot grasp -- art appraisal. How can you put a value on something so seemingly subjective? So, I set out to learn more about this industry.Continued ...
Flash mobs more theatrical production than dance
Most people are familiar with the term "flash mob." It's associated with groups of people congregating briefly to the surprise of the surrounding public, and often incorporates a choreographed dance. You've probably been witness to one, or you've probably seen one online, as they are extensively documented -- there are more than 10,000 results on YouTube if you search for flash mobs.Continued ...
- Volunteers are the SWAT of the arts world
- Music Beat
Complete education involves classroom, real-world learning
There is new, long overdue attention being paid in our institutions of higher education to the use of directed practical experience as an essential partner to the classroom lecture.Continued ...
- Music Industry tips
Copyright royalties can make you smile
A few years ago, I wrote an article on the skill and dedication necessary to become a songwriter.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips
Build a team to build a career
People love music because music is that magical means of communication that never fails. The music industry is going through some rough times, but it is not going to die because music is a basic, central need in everyone's life.Continued ...
- Complete education involves classroom, real-world learning
- Parenting Imperfect
I want to visit the world of 'The Pioneer Woman'
It is a double-edged sword, this whole having kids old enough to leave home alone for short periods of time thing.Continued ...
It is in February when the breaking point is reached
If I could edit the calendar, the two months I'd do away with are August and February.Continued ...
Ibuprofen saved the vacation
Right after New Year's Day, we four hearty souls flew to Orlando to visit my mother, stepfather and aunt.Continued ...
The write stuff is often hard to find in my household
Now that the kids are older and I sleep well most nights, my biggest parenting challenge is boundaries. The challenge is that I feel like I should have them and the small people refuse to acknowledge such a thing could exist.Continued ...
Of kids, phone calls and toilet paper
We have reached that golden age when both kids are responsible enough to be trusted alone for short periods of time.Continued ...
- I want to visit the world of 'The Pioneer Woman'
- Senior scene
Social Security: If you give a man a computer mouse, see what happens
Happy National Poetry Month. Now, if you'll have a look-see, read our poem inspired by Laura Numeroff's "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie":Continued ...
As Time Goes By: There's lint in my belly button, and other observations
Itâ€™s a great day in the South â€" the sun is shining and the temperature is 75 degrees and I find myself in a reflective mood.Continued ...
From the Office: Time is now to plan for the aging tsunami
It's coming. Maybe not this year, but starting in 2016, the number of older adults across the our country will begin to grow. At first it will only be a small increase, but as the baby boomers move up in age, the wave of individuals coming into the "senior" age group will become the largest in the census categories.Continued ...
Looking Back: Snowy winter wonderland could be fun or a pain
Snow, snow, go away … come again another day?? Please, perhaps next year? But there is always the positive side to things -- or so it seems.Continued ...
Social Security: 2014 is a year of changes at Social Security Administration
I am excited to share this article, written by a co-worker, about some very important changes happening this year at Social Security. I hope everyone will take a few minutes to read what's in store.Continued ...
- Social Security: If you give a man a computer mouse, see what happens
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
Weekend Reviews: 'The Virgin Suicides' shows angst, longing we all have
When I was younger, I remember idolizing teenage girls in every way possible.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Confidence in yourself must come from within
I'm not sure most of you know this, but I'm supposed to be writing about teen issues.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: A case for optimism
Take a moment, young teenager, and scroll down your Facebook page, and keep a tally of how many positive posts you see compared to the number of negative ones.Continued ...
On the Go: Science classes weren't wasted
Most science classes begin the same way. The teacher explains why his class is fabulous. He mentions labs and the Regents and any notion of joy or discovery vanishes.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: Folk meets Greek myth flawlessly in 'Hadestown'
"Hadestown" started as a folk opera created by Anaïs Mitchell that was performed live in Barre, Vt., and later all across New England.Continued ...
- Weekend Reviews: 'The Virgin Suicides' shows angst, longing we all have