Should online content be free?

In the past year or so, Eau Claire’s Leader-Telegram has began restricting access to their online articles.

The shift that newspapers are making away from the print form and towards online content is a hot topic in the journalism community. The debate about requiring subscriptions, however, isn’t discussed as often.

UW-Eau Claire’s student newspaper The Spectator and popular Chippewa Valley magazine Volume One both offer their online readers free content, and still publish print forms as well.

The main difference between the publications is the frequency of printing. The Spectator is published only once a week, and Volume One is published once every two weeks. The Leader-Telegram, on the other hand, is a daily newspaper. The bigwigs at the Eau Claire Press Company must have deemed it too expensive to continue printing every day and offer their content online for free, so they had to cut something.

That raises the question: Do you support publications that are shifting towards the internet and incorporating multimedia elements into the way news is brought to you, or do you prefer the a publication that continues to value and emphasize the traditional aspects of journalism?

— Nick Gourdoux

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4 Responses to Should online content be free?

  1. schmidjh says:

    I think that recent news should absolutely be free online. The way a lot of big newspapers websites work is that recent news is free while if you want to look at a story from a couple weeks ago you have to pay between one and three dollars per story. In additon a lot of newspapers offer online subscriptions that are very reasonably priced.

  2. laurielboettcher says:

    I actually had a discussion about this very topic with Julian Emerson at the LT. My thought is that our journalistic works are no different than musical works. They are creative expressions. Therefore, I think they should be able to be purchased and download, much like music.

  3. scoopie13 says:

    I feel like that it should be purchased as well, but at the same time, I feel that people will just not read them because they will not want to take the time to buy them. I feel like people are starting to get lazy these days.
    Devon

  4. Dan Peterson says:

    This is a really good topic to write about. I get most of my news from online news sites. I used to use the Leader Telegram for all my news, but it is no longer free to read much of their content. I rarely ever look at the LT now because I can just get news for free from WEAU or other news outlets.

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