Bummer.

Hey, Alex Breitler at the Stockton Record?  I really do like your work, and I read your articles extra carefully.  You’re the only mainstream journalist I can think of who covers water* from within the Delta.  One of your stories gave me the lead-in for what I still think is the best post I’ve written here.

But I’m not going to pay for a subscription, so I can’t read your stories any more.  Now I will know less about the in-Delta perspective on meetings.  I won’t be linking to the Record anymore, so you’ll lose at least half a dozen hits.  Maybe you could tell your editors that this move will shut you out of the blog discussion circuit.  And isolate the Delta voice a little more.  Or give Aquafornia permission to quote your articles in full?  Aquafornia might as well, since we can’t click through anyway.  Don’t know.  But the subscription model doesn’t mesh with my blogging approach (read all the news stories until something strikes me) and the small blog niche.

More:

I know that newspapers are looking for a solution and trying out different models; I don’t have anything constructive to suggest.  But if each newspaper unilaterally requires a subscription, I’ll just give up on that as a reading/blogging source.  I don’t care enough to pay for any one of them.  Not for news about a meeting or an update on a political event. 

If all the newspapers switched at once, I’d have to think about it more.  I might choose one, or hope for an aggregator.  (Speaking of which, I’m curious about what the DWR WATER NEWS will do.  If they drop the Stockton Record too, I think in-Delta water reporting will have lost a big amplifier.)  If I can’t go to newspapers?  I don’t know.  Go to the next free source.  Posted public comments?  Other blogs?  Those have a punishing signal to noise ratio, but I’m still not going to pay money for something I once got for free.

*You, Matt, Bettina, Seth.  Who else regularly reports on CA water for a newspaper?

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Bummer.

  1. Aquafornia

    Mike Taugher, Contra Costa Times.

    I am wondering a little bit about this myself.

    However, if you register at the Record, you can read 10 articles free per month. It might not cover all that you would want to read, but if you are not reading for any other stories other than water, it will probably suffice, or come close, most months.

    Yeah, it’s hard for the newspapers these days. Not many people buying hard copies and more people reading online for free than paying for it. I do get that part of it. Some say well, then, make the most of the hits you do get, but the flip side is that I don’t hardly ever even look at those ads, much less click on them. And sending out-of-the-area hits to them doesn’t really do much to help them out.

    And I do realize that my blog gets most of its content from people who were paid to write it. (My consolation is that I don’t get paid much, compared to how much time I put into creating it.)

    I think we’re going to have to see how this all shakes out in the upcoming years as the newspaper industry struggles to figure out how to be profitable within the media industry in this age of the internet.

  2. Aquafornia

    Oh, yeah, regarding what the DWR Water News do? When the Antelope Valley Press went to paid-only access, that was the end of it.

    There were interesting stories we were following, such as the rapid rise in water rates, a groundwater controversy, and residents protesting chloramines in their drinking water.

    After they went behind the paywall, that was the end of it. DWR Water News didn’t pick it up anymore. The squelching of an voice. Not as important as the Delta’s voice, but still, sad to see it go.

  3. Hi OTPR,

    Long-time reader, first-time poster. Aquafornia already mentioned the 10 free stories, but I also plan to beef up my blog, which is not behind the paywall. You can find it at http://blogs.esanjoaquin.com/san-joaquin-river-delta/.

    (Won’t be as much fun as yours, but hey… I’ll try!)

    Thanks,
    Alex

  4. onthepublicrecord

    Yes, Mike Taugher. I’ve seen his work.

    Oh man, I didn’t notice that about the AVP. Shoot. You’re right. They’re super interesting, because they’re showing how the exurbs will contract.

    Hey Alex. Yeah, the Record was the first newspaper to show up in the IP logs. I figured that was you.

    I might try the 10 articles/month, if Aquafornia points me to interesting stories. Do you suppose your bosses would want to create a blogger log-in/free subscriptions for the aggregators, like Aquafornia and DWR Water News? I don’t think commenters like me drive traffic, but I bet they do.

    I’ll be checking out your blog. It isn’t that hard to make it fun. Just swear a lot. Can’t go wrong with swearing a lot.