“Stop giving away for free news and information that people will happily pay for.”
While reading Henry Blodget’s account of going out and buying a newspaper, I was reminded that I am often tantalized by the idea of subscribing to my local paper. I use the term tantalized due to the nature of the relationship that most of us have with news outlets in general. News is offered for free in so many forms that the idea of paying for it seems anathema, while at the same time, if I want the best coverage of local topics, as Mr. Blodget did, I have to look to those who will give me that information: namely, local newspapers.
In addition, I am reminded of the fact that each time I go back home—to Chicago—I pick up my parents’ newspaper and read it basically cover to cover. My parents still get the paper four days a week; part of their morning routine is to read it and, at times, I envy that routine, possibly due to a memory of a simpler time.
However (and I think this is Mr. Blodget’s point), there are topics and insights that local news outlets can give us that simply aren’t available elsewhere. These news outlets have a responsibility to monetize the things that make them unique if they want to stay viable.
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.