Why it’s good that I didn’t go to DC this week

The annual Online News Association conference is going on in Washington, D.C. at the moment.

I didn’t make plans to get across the country to be there in person, which turns out to be convenient given the fact that I’ve been out of the house most of the week while it gets tented for termites. Don’t ask. The hotel was entertaining, the poisonous gas seems to be gone, and our new Internet connection is up and running, replacing our old wireless, which was fueled by our neighbors, who dealt with the whole fumigation issue by moving out.

There, I’ve vented.

Anyway, you can follow all the ONA action at CyberJournalist.net.

Meanwhile, back in California, Doc Searls has some of his usual advice for newspapers:

First, stop giving away the news and charging for the olds. Okay, give away the news, if you have to, on your website. There’s advertising money there. But please, open up the archives. Stop putting tomorrow’s fishwrap behind paywalls. Writers hate it. Readers hate it. Worst of all, Google and Yahoo and Technorati and Icerocket and all your other search engines ignore it.”

Doc’s got the right idea about this and nine other things.

I’d love to get a look at the numbers for an online paper to add up how much income rolls in from the pay-per-article archives versus how much pure profit they could be making by serving advertisements on those pages.

Who pays for archived stories, anyway? PR firms? How many page views do they get when they’re behind a paywall? Does the CMS still serve up the ads on the archives?

If you’ve got answers, comment away…

1 thought on “Why it’s good that I didn’t go to DC this week”

  1. Amen! I’m with Doc Searls on this. I hate walled-off newspaper archives. That annoys me as much as the NYT putting all of its top columnists behind the “Times Select” firewall. If you want to be influental in U.S. society, why put your most influential commentators off-limits to most of your online readers?

    I actually don’t mind how Salon.com and some other online pubs handle it, by giving its readers the option of subscribing or sitting through a short advertisement to get to the rest of the story. Usually Salon’s advertisements are well done and pretty entertaining…and short enough not to be too annoying.


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