An experiment: Top content to print readers first

  • Article by: Nancy Barnes , Star Tribune Editor
  • Updated: March 28, 2009 - 6:23 PM

Though it may seem counterintuitive in the online era, we want to reward paying customers.

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jhsteele58Mar. 30, 09 3:42 PM

If you want more subscribers give us a reason to subscribe. My wife and I have been a long-time subscribers but we have been talking for a couple of years about stopping our subscription. It's going to happen soon. We get most of our news online; my college aged kids get all their news online. I see very little future for print media. So why not try something that might get people to pay print-subscription prices for online content. Give us a Kindle for a two-year subscription contract, which price-wise is about a wash. I get a Kindle with the Star Tribune delivered on it; you save the printing and delivering costs of the paper. Sounds like a win-win to me.

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foresterMar. 30, 09 4:21 PM

Certainly these are trying times for traditional media outlets like print newspapers. And experimenting to discover a more sustainable model is not a bad idea, but I dispute your concept of who is paying for the newspaper. When I put 50 cents in the box to get a copy of your paper, I and all the others that 'pay' for the paper, are not 'paying' for the paper. We are simply a means to an end. Your advertisers are paying most of the cost of gathering news and producing broadsheets; we are simply the measure by which you can charge your advertisers. The more of us who buy a copy, the more your can charge your advertisers. So will more of us buy a paper if there is 'paper only' news? I doubt it. How will we know? If it is really worthwhile, won't someone figure out a way to get it online anyway. There is no easy answer to developing the new model, but this experiment appears to be headed in the wrong direction.

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excopyedMar. 31, 09 2:04 PM

It's about time newspapers realize they cannot give away all of their content for free, allowing Google and other online distributors to pick it up and profit from it. Save something for readers who are willing to pay toward the cost of providing good journalism. This is one of the smartest moves the Strib has made lately, after many bad ones.

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davehougApr. 1, 09 1:05 PM

Kudos to content only papers can provide. How about two guests who agree to provide insight on a topic point by point together! ! Often view A is printed Monday, view B printed Thursday and both sides cancel, thinking the paper is biased. Have two guests discuss a topic AND RESPOND to points raised. A joint column where points are put forth and examined. Campaign-style sound-bites don't inform. Profit from the craving for REAL information about a subject, point by counter-point. INFORM like only a paper can.

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linngrenApr. 1, 09 1:05 PM

i still get to read non-breaking news for free, but i just have to wait a few days for it. what is my incentive to subscribe to a print version?? i'd much rather pay for an electronic subscription (web, kindle, whatever) but only if you fix the horrendous layout and get rid of some of the annoying ads!

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davehougApr. 1, 09 1:08 PM

I meant both sides cancel their subscription, not cancel each other out. davehoug@comcast.net

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cloyd42Apr. 1, 09 1:12 PM

I subscribed for years but finally cancelled last summer after you debuted your bizarre "the newspaper for people who don't like to read" approach of short stories with lots of mistakes and omissions and reprinted national/international content from periodicals I already subscribe to separately. Why don't you target ACTUAL READERS? You may be surprised by the results.

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suswenApr. 1, 09 4:04 PM

My hometown paper, The Key West Citizen, has been doing this for a couple years now around their electronic [PDF] edition. If you subscribe to either home delivery or the electronic edition you can read all their content. If you don't, certain stories are blocked. Check it out at www.keysnews.com.

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jen911782Apr. 5, 09 5:26 PM

As someone who cannot afford a subsription to the Star Tribune, I think it's a little unfair that the "print subscribers" get to read certain articles first. Or as the Star Trib stated in this article: "Investigative projects, deeply reported nonbreaking news stories, beautifully written feature stories -- whatever content we think print readers might value most...." So, as an "online reader" I get "yesterday's news" and sloppy non-edited reporting (I've noticed LOTS of grammatical errors lately....)??? What gives? I know economic times are tough, but, this is the "information age".....I'm willing to bet that more people read startribune.com than subscribe to the actual print version. What's next? Are we going to be charged to visit the web site? If that happens, they'll lose someone who's been a loyal reader for 2 decades (print and online)......Pioneer Press (twincities.com) here I come......

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bleach61Apr. 6, 09 8:14 AM

Does the company where you work give away products for free just so it would be convenient for someone?

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