It’s hard to read other newspapers these days. I have been reading several newspapers for over 60 years. Before the Internet, the American press bought letters of exchange that arrived via post. The Internet made it possible to read them online.

Now it is also getting difficult. Here’s what you find on the many websites of local and national newspapers:

“This content is available to subscribers only. Get unlimited digital access. $1 for 6 months. ,

I was able to read a story on The Guardian website, but it said I had read 5 articles in the past year and went on to explain that it was a reader-funded newsletter and finally said, “Support us today. Make it as low as $1. Thank you.”

The Washington Post let me read a story, and on a second try said, “Try 4 weeks for FREE. Election coverage you want. Clarity you need. Cancel any time.”

On the Wall Street Journal website I found two paragraphs on a story about the Inflation Reduction Act and the message read, “Continue reading my article with WSJ membership. Special offer. $8 per month.”

The stories are available on The Advocate of Baton Rouge’s website, but it costs $9.99/month to read the newspaper page-by-page online to get comprehensive coverage. It has statewide coverage and investigative capabilities and is a leading sports newspaper.

Friends often send me links to stories they think I might like, but some of them are hard to read.

Lynn Hohensi sent me a story written by Corey Myers, news director for Sioux Falls Argus Leader, which explains it well.

Myers said that in the past 18 months, South Dakota has lost 17 newspapers. He said this is a pattern across the country. The news industry has lost more than 28,000 jobs since 2008, he said, “and more than 1,800 communities have lost their local newspapers since 2004.”

I recently tried to read a story on the Lafayette Daily Advertiser website that had the message “$1 for 6 months” but couldn’t. When I typed the title of the story on the Google website, the story popped up immediately. This was accompanied by a message down on Yahoo saying that the story originally appeared in The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette.

That, my friends, is the problem.

Myers said, “A big part of the problem is that the two tech giants, Google and Facebook, dominate online news and advertising, depriving newspapers of their revenue. The same is true for local broadcasters. ”

Tech giants distribute news content provided by newspapers, thereby increasing their advertising revenue. Myers said he made the business decision to pay publishers nothing for their journalism, “contrary to the companies’ practice of compensating music publishers and other creators.”

A 2019 story in The Salt Lake Tribune said Congress was considering legislation “aimed at allowing news outlets to work with search engines such as Google and social media providers to ensure that The newsroom should not be hollowed out. Or completely closed.”

The same story states that the News Media Alliance estimates that Google earned $4.7 billion in advertising revenue in 2018 alone “by scraping content from news publishers.”

Google disputed that figure, saying that the company actually helps news outlets by leading readers in their own way.

The Journalism Contest and Protection Act evolved from discussion of 2019, but it is still sitting in Congress. It would allow a temporary antitrust waiver to allow news organizations to negotiate with Google and Facebook to secure fair compensation for the production of journalistic newspapers.

In an August 5 editorial, The Mankato (Min.) Free Press urged the law to be passed. It said that weekly and smaller dailies are often the only source of local news.

“When they are closed, there is usually no one keeping an eye on city councils, county boards, school boards, and law enforcement,” the editorial said.

Another idea floating around Congress is the establishment of temporary tax credits for news outlets that hire or retain local journalists. This will certainly give impetus to the newspapers to continue their operations.

Unfortunately, the current Congress seems unlikely to help the newspapers. So newspapers are turning to readers, and some to donors, to help them survive.

The newspapers that are surviving are also getting better and more efficient because they know that in the times we live in, it is difficult to get help from Congress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *