On PBS, and here: Who’s going to pay for news?

[Gannett Tower is seen in screenshot of PBS show on Tribune Co.]

Yours truly perked up last night when I heard pundits on The News Hour say we’ve trained consumers to expect news and information to be free online — including all those updates you’ve been busting your humps to publish on your sites.

Problem is: As advertisers abandon newspapers, many march right past your websites, too, on their way to other new forms of even cheaper digital media. Meanwhile, few newspapers have matched The Wall Street Journal‘s success in selling subscriptions for online access.

“It breaks my heart that journalists are losing their jobs,” BusinessWeek columnist Jon Fine told the News Hour panel on yesterday’s Tribune Co. bankruptcy filing. “It breaks my heart when newspapers shrink. But someone’s got to pay for this stuff.” (Segment video.)

So, who’s that gonna be?
I don’t rattle my tip jar often; I prefer waiting until after a busy news cycle brings a surge of new readers — like the one we’re in now because of all these layoffs. Well, I heard from a couple tough-to-please readers soon after I posted a humorous reminder about my voluntary $5 quarterly subscriptions:

“This is a really dumb posting at a time when people are looking here for real information,” replied one reader. A few hours later, a second reader said: “Give me something substantial. If you do, you won’t need to advertise to get my greenbacks.”

Oh, well. There’s always tomorrow!

Please support this blog with a voluntary $5 subscription; see the “Donate” tool in the green sidebar, upper right. Or, send cash/checks payable to: Jim Hopkins, 584 Castro St. #823, San Francisco, Calif., 94114-2594.


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