Are you willing to start paying for news on the Web?

Web-based news outlets have surpassed newspapers and now draw more consumers than any medium except local TV news. The New York Times intends to start charging a fee for its Web content. Today’s Question: Are you willing to start paying for news on the Web?

  • Reuben Kamiar Koutal

    Sure. Just like I’ve been paying, and pay, for technology, and Scientific News, through Societies I’m Member of. Have ever, Newspapers been free?

  • Rich

    I feel there will still be a market for those publications that the public will be willing to pay for in the future. Quality is what attracted me to MPR and keeps me here. I’m sure most of your readers/listeners feel the same. People can choose where to get their news, and they vote with the click.

  • Guy


  • Garyf

    WIlling? No. Especially the New York Times. Not for their bias.

  • John O.

    Prediction: Before this is over, we will be paying higher prices to our internet service providers (ISPs). ISPs will end offering tiered pricing similar to how cable is marketed/priced to consumers now.

  • uptownZombie

    Willing? No. Especially Fox New. Not for their bias.

    The problem with a pay-wall in front of the news is that from a journalistic process a story is not “broken” unless it is widely available for the masses, so news agencies will have to have some sort of free side to their site or risk losing merit in the world. However, it might also help to quiet many noisy sources, or it might just make the pay-for sites quiet and the biased sources more noisy since they would be the only sites open and free

  • No. Especially not for news that doesn’t have a print edition as well. I will continue to read online digital subscriptions for magazines that provide a print copy as well as online edition.

  • Don Jacobson

    People who are unwilling to pay for their chosen news sources are just like those people who listen to MPR and do not donate. Quality media, it seems, will now (and to some extent already is) be supported only by those willing to pay, and the rest will get their information “for free.”

    I’ve been giving to MPR for over 25 years and I do so because I believe in it. I will also pay for and I still subscribe to the Star Tribune, even though I get most the content online. Put up or shut up, I say. Bias schmias! Bias is inherent in any communication, so pick your poison.

  • Clark

    Yes, if its quality, just like any service, I am willing to pay a fee. User pays, now there is a concept far left democrats will never understand!

  • Morro

    No, I am not willing to pay for news that I can get for free elsewhere. That is like saying, are you still going to go to a shopping mall that has begun charging for the air you breath while you are there. I do support MPR as a sustaining member, but newspapers and magazines have ALWAYS made the majority of their money, not from subscriptions (as some believe), but from ADVERTISERS. The reason they like to sell subscriptions is so that they can provide high circulation statistics to potential advertisers. Why should I pay money to have adverts pushed into my face? When the Times goes “commercial-free”, I might be willing to pay a small amount ($5 per month or so) to look at the online version. But then, I don’t scour every page of the Times. Maybe if I read more of it, I would feel more socially obligated to it.

  • uptownZombie

    > Bias schmias! Bias is inherent in any communication, so pick your poison.

    I highly disagree with that statement. If the right people are hired they are able to disassociate their own feelings from a situation, or a story. I know that because I am one of those people.

  • Jean


  • Greg

    Whether I’m willing to pay for a news subscrption online depends upon the quality of both the content and interface. I paid for the NYT Flash-based edition for a few months, but cancelled because the interface was terrible.

    But other than the change in media, I don’t see any reason not to pay for an online subscription to a news organization which I would pay for a print subscription. I now pay a subscription fee for several magazines which have produced a quality interface without a decrease in quality of content. Commercial news organizations are businesses and must be able to make money for the costs of production and to make a reasonable net profit.

  • Matthew

    A rather surprising if not insulting question of the day, given the fact that my wife and I pay MPR $20 per month for your news.

  • Greg D’Roseville

    ONe-way or another – its coming. Yes! Emphaitically yes. In the past, the content and the myraid of content collectors ( reporters, AP/UPI services, etc.) were paid for by direct advertising, subscription or direct vending. Now the model for internet sources is using the indirect advertising ( based on guesstimates of value) and very-few active subscritptions. Today – we freely link to content that we are not actually paying for – and therefore failing to support. It would be an interesting turn if members of MPR were able to view greater and better content on this site then free-floaters. And if the same were applied to all web-sources – then … random and unfettered linking becomes … difficult. To recover the cross linking – I can envision “peer service relationships” between content sources – where customers one can “freely” browse the content of the other peer services. The fallacy of the free-web – sponsored by the “tangilble-tactile” media is gone. The inttnernet is bigger and needs to be funded seperately as a free-standing business. That will include – being taxed under a new model as well. the “free” ride is over. Time to pay the piper.

  • Greg D’Roseville

    Matthew (etal – all other Mathews) think a little more broadly. You “pay” for MPR on the web … but do you pay for other web news services – NYTimes, ABC, Bloomberg, Washington Time, Jackson County Pilot, etc. etc. – that you may link to from other sites, e-mails, tweets, facebook … very likely not. so you are consuming something that cost money to produce and not supporting it. What would you do if , suddenly , that link to a news story actually cost you something? Would you follow the link? To somewhere other then the source you have permission to read ( for example the MPR website where you are paying-member and allowed access to all content.?

  • Doug

    Yes, especially for the NYTimes type quality. We also are MPR sustainers. We do need to support quality news services. The model of the NYT is good in that it allows 20 free articles per month – if that model is utilized widely then we can continue to periodically access other non-subscription sites for different views on specific information.

  • Philip


  • DMox

    Happily. I’m already a sustaining member of MPR. However, if I’m going to pay, that means you can’t then go out and get advertisers to muck up the screen with videos, flashy, misleading gadgets & insulting enticements.

    I pay or they pay. But its insulting when you pay, and then have to sit through a commercial to consume your news.

  • John P.

    I will pay for quality. I pay for MPR, and get all the news I can possibly digest. I do not need to pay for another service.

  • Bubba

    Sure, Fox news gets my $.

  • Chris

    I will never pay for my news on line!

  • Neil

    I will consider it and any other content I get off the web provided they do not load my computer with tracking cookies, adware, malware, spybots, etc.

  • Rich in Duluth

    It depends…

    If the content is provided without advertising, such as with public radio and TV, then I would be willing to pay for a subscription, because I prefer news with less of a bias.

    If the content is provided with advertising, then, no, I would not be willing to pay for the content, again, because I prefer news with less of a bias.

    Think about it, if thousands of listeners with thousands of points of view are supporting a news outlet, there is bound to be less of a slant on the news.

    If a news outlet is supported by advertisers, how does the consumer know how much the advertisers are paying and how much influence they have over the content?

    I think it’s pretty clear that commercial stations, dumb-down, slant, and sensationalize the “news” that they provide. There’s a reason for that.

  • Rebecca

    I am a fan of the NY Times. In addition to front page stories, I have been enjoying free weekly movie reviews and book reviews for some time via the web. Under the subscription system, as casual reader, I will get 20 free articles per month and after that there is a weekly charge of $15, which adds up to $195/year for the lowest cost package (web delivery only). I get the impression one can subscribe on a weekly basis, for example, during a big news week, but I’m not sure. If this is the case I like it, and would be willing to pay for those weeks where I am over the monthly 20 article limit. If there’s a monthly charge of $60 for that 21st article, I might hesitate, however I do want to see quality newspapers survive and this is probably the best way for that to happen.

  • Erin

    I am willing to pay, certainly, for news. I believe that quality journalism is the bedrock of a sound democracy, and that current sources of quality investigation are being eroded by corporate interests. I wish, however, that the NYT had instituted a membership model, allowing users to pay-what-you-can. Perhaps a recommended membership amount, with the option of paying less. I cannot afford $15/mo.

    As a democratic imperative, quality information and news must be available to all, not just those who are able to pay for it, or who value it enough to do so. I understand this as a business decision (income must increase), but as the country’s “newspaper of record,” they have earned an obligation to The People, the audience they have so adeptly built.

  • Brian

    No, the NYT is a mainstream media outlet that is the same as the washington post, USA today, even local Star trib.,they all report the same bias news.

    Not once have I seen them suggest that we have a no fly zone over Gaza to protect the innocent civilians that are being hit, killed by Israel almost daily (also not reported).

    Just two weeks ago a 13 year old girl was gunned down for having her school backpack on and being “too close” to the Israel outpost.

  • Greg D’Roseville

    Considering the # of users on the web … a much lower fee could be charged for usage then the current models for access to “best-content”. the problem that will exist is …. how to allow access in a way that supports the random nature of web-linking, human-interest, and free-choice. I can envision two “subscriber models”. One like cable/satellite where you pay for bundles of news providers – that you can freely hit – but this completely negates randomness and free choice. The other is a cell-phone style plan – where you pay for “minutes of access” and can “call/browse” anywhere. In this model – a portion of your paid “minutes” you pay go to the news provider. If the ONLY model the vendors have is a 1:1 relationship with each and every vendor – forget it – few if any people will EVER pay for more than one and …. there goes linking. FOX NEWSCORP is taking stabs at a 1:1 relationship with the customers. I’ll skip that …. thank you very much.

  • Greg D’Roseville

    Brian, true – but you could pay for “Democracy Now” and other news sources ( BBC, Al Jazeera, etc.) — and if so would you

  • Brian

    Greg D’Roseville,

    Thanks for understanding. No I would not pay for the BBC they are mainstream and Democracy Now is just wrong, they don’t get it.

    The only thing WE have left is the internet. I would and have supported publications that are clearly free; they are few and far between.