Money for Journalism

Can’t believe this didn’t work:

In an utterly unsurprising development, the tip jar quietly has disappeared from the Miami Herald website.

Guffaws
and groans greeted the paper’s decision in mid-December to add a
heartfelt plea for voluntary donations from readers to the bottom of
each of its web pages.
But the plea and the link to an accompanying payment page were nowhere in evidence on the website over the weekend.

[snip]

“I
thought those advertisers actually paid you guys to put all this stuff
up that we have to see if we want to look at this site,” said a reader
identified as jstella. “Silly me.”

“Yeah, I’m going to tip a for-profit business,” said a commenter identified as lucky0111. “I’d rather burn my money.”

Well, and seriously. Again, this has very little to do with the mythical belief that news is free and everything to do with the fact that people have caught on to just how badly newspaper companies have fucked up the Internet. Engaged consumers of news aren’t morons, and you keep blathering on about suing Google and charging people six cents to read a brief about relief efforts in Haiti that was written by the AP and republished in your paper, and they’re gonna call bullshit.

Consistently telling your customers they’re stupid and selfish and don’t care about what’s really important doesn’t help, either.

Advertisers do actually pay to put all that stuff up. Right now, they just don’t pay enough for the web site to justify itself, and there are about twelve reasons why that is, including that people aren’t selling the web very hard, that the economy blows, that web advertising as it presently exists is generally ugly and intrusive, and until you hire smarter sales folks you’re gonna wind up having conversations like this:

        SETH
Hello?

SALESMAN
Hi, this is Ron calling you from the
Daily News. How you doing this
morning?

SETH
I'm not interested.

SALESMAN
Okay. I'm sorry to have bothered you.
Have a nice day.

SETH
That's it? That's your pitch? You
consider that a sales call??!

SALESMAN
Well, ummm...

SETH
You want to sell me a paper right?
Well you guys call me every Saturday
and I get the same half-assed attempt.
You wanna close me? Then sell me.

SALESMAN
(hesitantly)
Alright.

SETH
Go ahead, start again.

SALESMAN
Okay... Hi, this is Ron from the Daily
News. How you doing this morning?

SETH
(smiling)
Shitty. What do you want?

SALESMAN
It's not what I want, sir... it's what
you want.

SETH
Alright, now you're talking. What are
you selling?

SALESMAN
I'm offering you a subscription to the
Daily News at a substantially reduced
price. We're trying to reach out to
people that have never had home
delivery before.

SETH
So, everyone else that already has a
subscription is getting fucked on this
one huh?

SALESMAN
...Yeah, I guess so.

SETH
Good, I can live with that. Now why do
I want your paper? Maybe I should get
the Times or the Voice.

SALESMAN
Well the Village Voice is free, sir, so
if you want it you should certainly
pick it up. But the Daily News offers
you something no other paper can, a
real taste of New York. We have some
writers on staff that have been with us
for over fifteen years. We have the
best features! More photographs than
any other daily in New York! And we
have the most reliable delivery in the
city! Now what do you think??!!
        SETH
Alright, Ron. Now that was a sales
call. Good job!

SALESMAN
So are you going to buy a subscription?

SETH
No. I already get the Times.

A.

2 thoughts on “Money for Journalism

  1. Aaaargh says:

    Yeah, a nonprofit music site (chock full of free content) I work with has had a tip jar for about three years now. It’s had almost a million visitors. The grand total number of tips? One. At least it was for $25. Can’t imagine tipping an actual business. What wankers.

  2. Tommy T says:

    Do NOT make me laugh that hard.
    Beer shot out of my nose.

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