MediaNews CEO William Dean Singleton in a rare moment of gloat over the Rocky Mountain News going out of business, but could his own papers be next?
After announcing the plan to charge readers for access to Web sites in May, the first subscription paywalls put up by the MediaNews Group will be erected in Chico, Calif. and York, Pa.
Though, in truth, it's been here before -- from 1995 to 1998, the Mercury News actually did charge subscriptions for online access. And guess what happened? Online readership dropped by 90 percent.
Of course, now those who actually do sign up for a subscription will be bloggers more than happy to regurgitate the salient points from the stories on their own, free sites.
One idea? Stop subsidizing existing print subscribers by actually charging them what it costs to print and deliver a newspaper. Oh, but then they'd go read it for free online, you say?
Yeah, newspapers are screwed.
Jackson West figures this is at least mildly better an idea than assuming more video will solve anything.