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Lifestyles

June 27, 2009

Tech, G.P.: Paying for online news is only fair

I've never tried to keep it secret. I'm a junkie. A news junkie. I usually read 10 different Internet news sites a day. Sometimes more. Seven days a week.

So you might think it strange that I think that newspaper websites are making a mistake by letting me read them for free. I think I should be paying them something to satisfy my habit.

Not a lot, of course, but something.

Let me explain.

First, I need to say that when I use the term "newspaper," I really mean "journalism." My use of the term "newspaper" reflects the fact that most of the journalism I read actually comes from newspapers. There are other sources of news, though. It's just that newspapers have historically been the best, and main, source.

What does this have to do with technology? A lot.

Technology in general, and the Internet especially, has been a game-changer for newspapers the last few years.

If you're like most people, you don't think much about newspapers themselves. You just think about the information they present to you. This would be natural.

But the fact is that there is an awful lot of work that goes into making that paper you're reading.

An editor once told me that the news business is the only business that has to put out a different product every day. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, that people never see or think about.

I know. I took part in it for 33 years.

People have to do that work. And get paid for it. News stories, done right, don't get done for free, and the money to produce the news product has to come from somewhere.

Here's where changes in technology come in.

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