For all its flaws, we still need the Dayton Daily news

This morning on Facebook an acquaintance was railing against the new Dayton Daily news paywall. There was an article she wanted to read (ironically about the shift to temp and part-time workers) but didn’t want to pay for.

This is a person who rallies against minimum wage jobs, Monsanto and the 1%, yet, doesn’t think the journalists at the Dayton Daily news should be paid for their work.

In Cleveland this week, the Cleveland Plain Dealer cut home delivery to three days a week and laid off about a third of its newsroom. That means a third less people digging into government doings to uncover unethical behavior, misguided spending and criminal conduct- by corporations, criminals, politicians, etc.

While advertising used to support journalism, times are changing. As is the way we gather news. For many people, they depend on their Facebook friends to share some of the news. Others, who don’t have Internet access, may have to depend on local TV news (which is news “lite” at best). It’s hard to monetize information- which just wants to be free on the Internet. The government is having a really hard time understanding that you can’t classify things as secret that are readily available online (that’s from a NY Times article today- but I’m not going to link to it, because all you free loaders don’t subscribe and don’t read it daily).

I pay for the NY Times. It’s worth every penny to me. Unfortunately, I also pay almost as much for the Dayton Daily news, which isn’t worth nearly as much, but I still need to read it so I know what’s going on in this community since I can’t dedicate my life to full-time blogging).

Recently, I made a switch to read the NY Times first, and then the DDn. It makes me feel smarter- and I can skip over about half of the global and national news in the DDn which is just dumbed down NYT content. I almost feel guilty with this switch up- but, if I have to skim one because I’m pressed for time- the DDn skims much easier since there is less substance.

I still laugh about the DDn pricing structure- an all digital edition with all access actually costs more than buying just the Thursday and Sunday paper which comes with full digital access. They do this to increase their printed circulation numbers because they still think their ad rates are based on the dead tree numbers. Makes me laugh, except for the pile of unopened papers in my living room. I much prefer reading a paper on the iPad these days, even if it is the horrible Olive Software version of the DDn.

If you think journalism is important- and being well informed is a civic duty as I do, get a subscription so we don’t have to see the kind of cuts in Dayton that just went down in Cleveland. And, people in charge of the DDn- please consider a way that I can skip getting your dead tree edition and still get the reasonable rate, at heart, I’m still a tree hugger.

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10 Responses

  1. Geoff August 4, 2013 / 12:27 pm
    Does the paywall really subsidize the DDN payroll?  I find that somehow difficult to believe.
  2. David Esrati August 4, 2013 / 12:38 pm

    Yes, Geoff, it helps make sure they get paid for their content. Paywall implementation is different for every paper. The Times allows 10 free articles a month or some such- but, since they went to a paywall, they are finally starting to see some revenue come in. It hasn’t replaced ads for revenue- but, it’s helped.

     

  3. Kevin Busarow August 4, 2013 / 1:39 pm
    I would subscribe except for one HUGE problem.  You must enter your phone number to subscribe, and here’s what it says- “By giving your phone number here, you agree the Dayton Daily News may contact you about your subscription account and other offers which you might find of interest, and may use an automatic dialer, text message or prerecorded voice to do so.”  If you don’t agree to accept robo-calls, they won’t let you subscribe.  Incredible.  Until they change this policy, DO NOT SUBSCRIBE!  
     
  4. Dave C. August 4, 2013 / 2:13 pm
    I look at the free DDN headlines, and if I see something interesting, I Google it. 
    ——-
    I refuse to pay for mediocrity. Especially smug mediocrity.
  5. Don W. August 4, 2013 / 5:08 pm
    It would be useful and interesting to know how successful the DDN paywall actually is – how much of a boost subscriptions have gotten since the paywall was instituted.
    In a market economy, pricing levels are partially determined by value delivered. The DDN paywall prices fall far short of this metric. “Smug mediocrity” is spot-on.
    I believe that regional and local papers like DDN, the Enquirer, etc. should form co-ops to offer digital subscriptions that cover multiple publications. I’d definitely pay for something like that and I bet that I’m not alone. Not for DDN’s current subscription model.
  6. Geoff August 5, 2013 / 2:10 pm
    I feel that I can keep up with worthwhile local news via my FB contacts quite handily, and that the DDN simply doesn’t have enough to offer me.  If I’m really hard up, I can check out a hardcopy at the library.
    I am left wondering just how much the DDN does pay their writers.
  7. truddick August 6, 2013 / 6:43 am
    Recently I discovered that Google News has a “Miami Valley” tab that covers local rather well.  They collect articles from WHIO, WDTN, DDN, Springfield News-Sun, and others.  And it’s free.  Not that we’ll cancel the DDN sub, my wife likes to feel newsprint and, well golly, they have improved in recent years.
    One thing I don’t quite get–why is there still a model that each city’s newspaper has to cover all national and international news?  They do it poorly–I usually have already found those articles online, sometimes days before DDN runs them.  I wonder why a big nationally distributed paper (say, NYT) doesn’t partner up with locals–let the DDN staff do only regional news and selected features, and wrap it around the national and world news from NYT or whatever.  The locals could cut costs and raise quality of local reporting, NYT would boost total revenues–what’s not to like?
  8. joe_mamma August 7, 2013 / 7:48 am
    The large papers do partner with smaller local papers.  That is essentially the function of the AP news service.  Regardless….cost is less of a problem.  The big problem is revenue.  Newspaper print advertising revenune in 2012 was about 19 Billion.  That’s about what it was in 1950.  In 2002 newspaper print advertising revenue was roughly 56 Billion.   That’s a 66% decline in 10 years.
     
     
      http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-newspaper-advertising-2012-9
  9. Kevin Busarow September 4, 2013 / 8:33 pm
    As I pointed out earlier, the DDN won’t allow you to subscribe unless you provide your phone number and explicitly agree to accept calls (and robo-calls!) for “items you may find of interest” (their advertisers).  I strongly advocate protesting this policy by not subscribing, but if you really need access, do what I just did- provide a fake phone number (in my case, our old home number which was cancelled long ago because we just use cell phones now). 
  10. Dave C. September 6, 2013 / 10:21 pm
    A good alternative to the DDN website is whiotv.com . It’s free, and covers local news pretty well.

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