Newspapers are laying off beat reporters because their work does not generate enough revenue. The subscriber base is decreasing while the online ad revenue is not rising fast enough to compensate. But newspaper beat reporters covering actual events are the foundation of the news food chain, providing the essential nourishment that sustains all the other things such as TV, commentary, blogs, and other online services. If they go, the rest collapses.
John Oliver discusses the dim future that awaits the news industry if we don’t do something to change the revenue model.
I have always subscribed to newspapers but it is clear that I am part of an ever-decreasing minority in the US. But I am also part of the problem because I get a lot of my news online for free, though I do send in money to some of the websites that I visit regularly.
What I would like to see is a system where each time I click on an article put out by a website that employs actual journalists, I am charged a small amount. At the end of the month, I would get a bill for the amount of actual original content I consumed while the news outlet gets paid. Given the large number of readers of online content, I suspect that a formula could be arrived at that would result in a major source of revenue for the newspapers and a fairly small monthly cost for readers, of the order of ten dollars or so, which is about half the going rate for a newspaper subscription.