Have you picked up the tab lately?

Like most people, I have a favorite spot I like to hang out at and drink with friends. We share stories, debate politics, discuss community events, swap recipes and gossip about celebrities. It helps define my day, my outlook on life and what I care about. My friends are generous with their time, opinions and information. And to top it off, they have always picked up the tab, until now. I always thought my wit and company alone would be enough to sustain their hunger and quench their thirst.

Lately, they’ve been greedy about sharing their gossip and asked me to pitch in for the tab and tip. I was stunned. Was it something I said or did? Turns out, they enjoy my company and insights, but just got tired of paying my way.

Ok. This never happened. But it’s how I think of newspaper paywalls when I hear people grouse about them. We’ve all been receiving a free flow of information from newspapers and journalists for years. While you might disagree with their strategy to save themselves by erecting paywalls to their content (labor), you really have not been asked to help pick up the tab for the past decade.

Maybe you will find new friends and a place to hang out and talk about the world. Maybe you will pick up part of the tab to keep the friends and lively conversations you love. You will ultimately decide. I’ve decided to help pick up the tab.

I have watched my journalist husband spend months and weeks investigating a news story that has changed the community we live in. I have watched him carefully select the words and write with a flair that has earned him respect and a following.

A good hunting dog with a strong prey drive will hunt on command. But sooner or later, that dog won’t hunt without a bone.

 

 

 

One Reply to “Have you picked up the tab lately?”

  1. In theory, prices fall to marginal cost in a free market. So the cost of producing each additional unit eventually becomes the price in the market. Marginal cost is practically nil for electronic publications.

    What the news industry really needs is innovation. The Paywall doesn’t count. Newspapers have never really embraced the Internet, or the culture, and the Paywall just shows that they still don’t get it.

    Someone needs to pay, but subscribers, classified ads, and sponsors are all a century old. Newspapers could have been the craigslists and Groupons but stuck their head in the sand when they could have been burying the startups with it.

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