News content should should remain free online

According to a New York Times (NY Times) online poll, only 5 percent of people would be willing to pay for online news.

It’s true. News online should be given to the public for free. Well, as free as we think it is.

Instead, news
companies need to be working harder to make a profit from digital advertising, so everyone, to include myself, can keep receiving free access to
online news.

“Rapidly declining advertising revenues continue to be the (news) industry’s core problem,” according to stateofthemedia.org.

However, The Guardian, a major news publication, seems to have this part figured out.

According to an August 2013 article on bloomberg.com, The Guardian has remained free for online readers.

“The Guardian saw its digital revenue jump 29 percent last year, outpacing the decline in its print sales and giving the 192-year-old newspaper cause for cheer after years of losses,” the article added.

Companies need to target ads toward their readers. It is the quality of ads over the quantity.

The Union Tribune (UT) began implementing a paywall in 2012. A paywall is defined as “
the part of a website that can be accessed only by paid subscribers,” according to dictionary.com.

According to newsandtech.com, 430 newspapers in North America have created a paywall for their online content.

If an online news site requires payment for web content, many readers travel elsewhere in the virtual world to find it for free, even away from trusted sources such as the NY Times, Washington Post and the UT.

Poynter.com released a poll in 2012 that states “52 percent of media professionals abandon websites when they hit a paywall.”

If stories don’t get read by the masses, then news organizations have failed.

I aTagsm not talking about putting an entire written novel on the web for no charge. I am strictly talking about news, news which affects people, the community and the world.

If it is not free, then once again, our society is appealing to the wealthy. Creating a paywall is essentially saying that people who cannot afford to pass the paywall don’t deserve to be well-informed.

I buy a print version of the paper when I want a hard-copy; something to carry around all day.

However, when I want to know why traffic has been stopped for an hour on the freeway, the UT online should have the answer and it should come to me for free.

My right as a human is to take in as much knowledge as I can hold, and that should not be denied in any way.

Doing research at the library is free, so the virtual world needs to stay free as well to keep people wanting to educate themselves.

If The Guardian can stay free, so can every other news site. Though it
may be difficult and require more work, it is necessary to stay true to
the readers.

Author: Susan Whaley

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