Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcome Back, The Dallas Morning News

October 1. The government shut down. Obamacare exchanges opened for business. And The Dallas Morning News removed its paywall. "Its news content will once again be free to all web visitors." Once again I can read the bad news, the good news, all the news, in the News.

Long ago, I gave up my print subscription to The Dallas Morning News. And when the online product was locked behind a paywall, I largely gave up reading The Dallas Morning News online as well. I quit clicking on links to The Dallas Morning News stories because most of the time, I'd get the first paragraph, then a paywall notice telling me that the rest of the article was for paying customers only.

Now I can go back to clicking on links to The Dallas Morning News. That's good, right? After the jump, the downside of free.

I feel good about this, personally. Given the large number of free online news sources, I am not willing to pay for online news. But the people who make their living by providing the content at The Dallas Morning News probably think I should feel bad about the failure of The Dallas Morning News' paywall. If I and other readers don't pay, it's only a matter of time before The Dallas Morning News can no longer afford to produce that content. That will indeed be bad.

If you've read this far and expect me to offer my ingenious solution to this problem, you've come to the wrong place. Newspapers are dying and I don't see any way to change that. It's not driven by what The Dallas Morning News talks about, the format readers want to read. It's driven by what advertisers want. And advertisers don't need newspapers anymore to reach customers (print or electronic). So, newspapers have been dying for years and the ones that remain are sickly. I don't pretend to know how to change that.

But, until they shut down altogether, I'm glad to have The Dallas Morning News back as one of my regular news sources.

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