THE INQUISITIR: The decision [to embargo content from the web until it runs in print] rests on two major presumptions that fail miserably. The first is that there is a scarcity of competition therefore people who want the news will have no choice but to buy the paper. Secondly, that anything they write of substance is worthy of buying the print edition to read it first when it will either end up on their website, or will be reported on other websites. Neither hold true.
There may be only one major competitor in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Daily News) but both papers exist in a market that offers national newspapers and a world of online choice. That choice also isn’t restricted to traditional media, with bloggers covering local news as well.
The internet is also replacing the notion of paying for information directly with a model that offers information for free with the support of advertising. Less people are interested in paying for the print edition of a newspaper when the information it provides, and billions of additional words are available on demand digitally for $0. No amount of pulling stories offline will change that trend. The void will not be filled by increased sales, but by increased traffic views on other sites.
Ultimately though, the care factor for the decision will be small. The Philadelphia Inquirer has just committed ritual suicide via a slow and agonizing death, and will become yet another failed title in a growing sea of dead media. MORE
TRUTH, JUSTICE & PEACE: I hardly read the print version [of the Inquirer] anymore (although we still get it delivered because my husband likes to read an actual newspaper). Except for one or two articles on the front page, the entire front section of the paper consists of reprints of AP, NYTimes and Washington Post articles. I can read those at the original source, so why bother reading them on a delayed basis in the paper? Even the opinion section mostly carries reprints of op ed pieces from elsewhere, along with the likes of Rick Santorum — just the sort of outlandish conservative that a liberal town like Philly wants, so I skip over that too. The only thing worth reading is the Local section, to see what is happening in the region. Sometimes, I let the paper pile up over a few days and then just skim through to see what, if anything, is worth reading. This from a person who used to read 5 papers daily (including the Inky), from cover to cover! Overall, with cutbacks in staff and content, the old Philly paper ain’t what she used to be. Even worse, I have to say that I’ve pretty much given up on the website, Philly.com. It’s hard to find anything resembling news between the ads and the fluff stuff. Honestly, I didn’t even know that they carried breaking news — where could they fit it amid the stupid pet tricks? MORE
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