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People Will Pay As High Quality Journalism Becomes Scarce

This is a blog, so I can make a prediction based on personal experience. When high quality news and information became scarce, I went to great lengths to get it including paying lots of money for it.

Let me explain, I lived in Minnesota for 18 years and was addicted to its public radio news and information station; that was true even before I went to work for Minnesota Public Radio.

Then I moved to Marietta, Georgia, where the local public radio station WABE provided too much classical music and too little news and information to satisfy my listening habits.

When I got in the car, I longed for my smart public radio news and information. Of course, I had an infinite number of other free radio stations to listen to, but I didn’t want junk, I wanted public radio news and information. So I bought a Sirius radio and paid $13 a month, $156 a year, to listen to the high quality public radio programming I wanted. That’s all I used the Sirius radio for, I rarely listen to much else.

Now that I have a iPhone, I am dumping my Sirius radio. Why? Because I can get even more high quality public radio news and information on my iPhone  via live radio or via podcasts that I save to the iPhone. Now I simply plug the iPhone into my car radio.

Soon all radio is going to be generated through something like an iPhone. So if I ran public radio, I would say, if you want high quality radio via your mobile device it will cost you or you don’t get it. Will I pay for it? Yes, certainly, I miss it too much not to pay. I value it.

Will I pay for it if they give it to me for free and then ask me for money, maybe.

Remember I was not paying for Sirius, I was paying 100 percent for public radio news and information.

So will people pay for high quality journalism and information? I do think so because I know one person intimately who already has. And trust me that person is very tight with his money.

Keep in mind, I am saying high quality news and information. Run of the mill junk is a worthless commodity. High quality journalism is scarce and will be more so in the future, and that’s when everyone who loves great journalism will begin to pay.

I am also talking about a brand that I know will deliver high quality information every day, so I am willing to pay in advance for that brand and its contents. Public radio and The New York Times are those brands.

Jeff Jarvis, thinks I am wrong, but we will find out who is right and who is wrong soon enough because if you want high quality news and information, you will have to pay for it. The big boys have finally seen the light.

3 Responses to “People Will Pay As High Quality Journalism Becomes Scarce”

  1. Patrick Ott Says:

    With myself being an “up and comer” in what seems to be a way of looking at things in the world through a new perspective; sometimes I feel like the college major of choice that I specialize in is possibly poisoning our “easily poisoned” people of our nation. I can honestly say that public radio and new york times is doing their best to stay true to what news media is all about. And to me that is, which is the same problem with everything, albiet economy, religion, politics, personal agenda (i.e, Rupert Murdock) etc., (sorry to be so wordy) is adding interpretation to presentation. I want the facts, I deserve the facts. We deserve to be able to interpret the facts the way they are presented, not presented in the way that someone else interprets it. I know this is way off the point and on a tangent, but I’m 26 years old and know poeple who think that because they see someone expressing their opinion on the television that it is obviously salient.

  2. David Cohn Says:

    I think this is right on Lenn – as you know, I tend to agree with you. But more and more I’m realizing that certain types of news and information that journalists think is priceless have less value than others. Which is to say – much of what newspapers traditionally did won’t be paid for.

    But the high quality stuff that adds value… I think has a shot.

  3. Damon Kiesow Says:

    Actually – except when you were in Minnesota donating to MPR – you were not paying for ‘high quality journalism.’ You were paying Sirius or Apple for delivery of journalism created by others.

    So the question to be decided is can newspapers derive subscription revenues for a product for which they no longer own the means of distribution.

    At the moment it seems that we can not charge directly for most content. But, we can still make money on digital subscriptions by creating new distribution channels and platforms that provide convenience and value to our audience.