Best example yet of why paid content doesn’t work online

Here’s what little I know about David Sullivan — he’s a journalist in Philadelphia — I believe a copy editor — and primarily a person of print lineage — and new to blogging.

And in his first week of blogging about the newspaper business — and keep in mind, Sullivan is a newsroom guy, not a business-side guy — he’s pretty much nailed the very issues we’re all grappling with, such has how do we really measure audience, what is our real online audience size, what is our audience worth, how do we compete with free, and where our competitors come from and what they do.

And all of that in this one intelligent post.

Most importantly, he notes that a family-owned paper in Watertown, NY has dropped it’s pay wall on its web site (a significant act to contemplate for the cranky old journalists who think everybody should pay for everything).

The Watertown Daily Times operates in an isolated market — almost an hour north of Syracuse and hours away from anywhere else. Watertown, like most of outstate New York, has had hard times, but the Times as still managed to keep (in 2007 Year Book) a daily circulation near 29,000, down from 37,000 10 years ago — not as hard a decline as a lot of papers, but still in the 2o-to-25-percentish range.

The Daily Times, being a family owned newspaper and thus having neither stock analysts nor corporate overseers, decided to put the Web content behind a wall. Last week it threw up its hands and dropped the wall. Victory for the Web!

In a way. The Times subscription Web site had 1,000 paid subscribers. Which means 29,000 households took the print paper and 1,000 took the Web site, meaning — 7,000 of the circulation loss was people who simply had no use for paying for the Watertown Daily Times in any form.

David points us to a local news aggregation site that appears to be in direct competition with the Watertown paper, It’s success (more on that below) is object lesson for newspaper sites that fail to take the web seriously. dominates the both in audience and advertising. It has way more local information than most local newspaper web sites, and all of it free, and none of it coming from the Daily Times (not a single link to a Daily Times article). has managed to secure obits direct from funeral homes as well as other hyperlocal information. From their it acts as a super aggregator of links to other news sites with stories it believes will interest its audience (not just local news).

As I said, dominates the Look at this chart from

Never before have I seen a get trounced in its own market by any competitor — not even a TV station. has twice the traffic, and is growing faster, than the local daily’s news site.

Sullivan notes that even with giving it all away, there are still 27,000 households in Watertown willing to pay for home delivery. Fine. But according to — which I believe tends to under count audience, but is also measuring non-local audience (and one more caveat to that: numbers I’ve seen from Belden Associates suggests that 80 percent of a’s traffic is local) — more people visit on a monthly basis than subscribe to the newspaper.

If that doesn’t put a nail in the coffin of the “people should pay for our news” argument, I can’t imagine what will.

So if our only chance at survival is to give news away for free, how do we survive? Obviously, advertising is going to be a big part of it (though not necessarily advertising as packaged goods media has traditionally sold). Any such model requires much larger audiences than we’re currently getting. And, so, again, I refer you to this piece by Kevin Kelly about unlocking true economic value online. And here again is my own post inspired by Kelly.

UPDATE: Additional thoughts immediately after posting.

First, I bet NewzJunky has a fraction of the staff — lower overhead – than the Daily Times. It may, in fact, be a one-person operation.

Second, to those who object the idea that sites like this can only exist thanks to MSM (look at all the links to other news sources), well, then, yeah, and your point? Not all local information requires reporters (look at Everyblock) to gather. Even if the MSM sources all go out of business, sites like NewzJunky still have a sustainable business model. And when MSM sites go out of business (if they do), all the more audience and advertising for sites like NewzJunky. More revenue means more staff for original reporting. Even if such a site isn’t staff as well as the daily newspaper it put out of business, the daily newspaper is still out of business. This is how disruption works.

The point is — ignore the concept of sites like newzjunky at your own peril. Feel free to marginalize the threat in your own mind, and say, “it can’t happen here.” Tell that to the publisher in Watertown.

UPDATE: In an e-mail, Jim Romenesko passes this along: “NewzJunky was founded by one of my early tipsters (starting 1999), a guy named Stephen Smith. He *is* in fact a news junkie who, I believe, runs the site on his own. I don’t hear from him as often these days probably because of his increased workload and success.”

41 thoughts on “Best example yet of why paid content doesn’t work online

  1. It’s writing like this that softens people up for the television/internet vapor world of no grammar and even less spelling.
    Which, if any, side are you on?

  2. Damn! Another conspiracy discovered! Just like the one in which we’re all anti-Hillary, anti-Barack, anti-Ron Paul, anti-fill-in-the-blank.

    Yes, Arty: Howard pointing out that competition exists puts him on the side of evil. Clearly.

    Twenty-five years ago, when I was an agate clerk on the sports desk at a Fine Midwestern Newspaper, I thought there couldn’t possibly be any argument more ignorant than that proffered by passionate fans who insisted that we “favored” one of the state universities over another because we ‘gave’ one of those schools eight more picas of space.

    Arty, you may have topped them.

    The world has changed. We’re not monopolies any more, and it’s time to acknowledge that the audience has the power, not us. Wishing for 1994 to return will not work, no matter how hard we try.

  3. I understand and agree (mostly) with the points made in this post.

    But it seems difficult to make the case that certain kinds of content, such as well-produced video and audio, should be free. It’s just too expensive to produce and distribute (bandwidth / data transfer costs).

    I’m not trying to pick a fight with anyone, but I don’t know how to fund professionally produced multimedia content unless the consumer opens his wallet.

  4. I’m not sure why we (newspapers) are overly concerned about production value of online video. The video everyone is watching is the poorly-produced stuff on youtube. It doesn’t cost these users anything, just time, and they are getting the pageviews you aren’t. Just tape something interesting & compelling and put it online. Let me repeat — interesting & compelling to watch. Don’t worry about professional quality. I don’t think folks care, its all about the content.

    In short – talking heads telling me the news: not compelling. Raw video, raw audio, something you just have to see: compelling.

  5. Doug: Valid point – the consumers have to pay us.

    But they are. With their attention.

    People don’t “pay” for that professional produced television news (let alone the prime-time entertainment) with anything but their attention.

    People don’t “pay” magazine subscribers any meaningful amount of money (how many offers did you get for magazine subscriptions in the past year? How many of them were less than the cost of the postage for the magazine? Hint: Most of them).

    Heck, if our circulation and finance departments were intellectually honest, they’d be forced to admit that our print customers don’t pay for our content in print – they’re paying a distribution fee. (Add up the cost of the paper, the ink, the depreciation of the presses, the 10-cents-a-copy ‘distribution fee’ to the ‘independent contractor’ carrier, the insanely high cost per sale for new subscriptions … and you ate up every dime of circulation revenue and then some.

    We’re now in the realm of the rest of the media world. Our customers will pay us with their time and attention. Or, if our content doesn’t meet their needs, they won’t. To paraphrase MJ above: We have to be relevant, useful and compelling.

  6. From: The Raleigh Chronicle

    Although we are not “trouncing” our competition by any means like, we also are a small daily online newspaper that is taking on a large traditional newspaper. Unlike a traditional newspaper, we have no problem putting links to TV stations, YouTube videos, or articles on other news sources that pertain to Raleigh.

    Of course, we feel it is also important to come up with our own original content and we do so, daily.

    Our competitor’s full time staff: 800+ Our full time staff: Less than 1/100th of that. We get beat on a lot of stories in terms of posting them, but we also make scoops ourselves despite our small staff.

    Any newspaper these days that is in a local market and puts up a “pay wall” is basically inviting competition and accelerates their own demise.

    There is no barrier to entry anymore for getting into the newspaper business, other than a nose for news and a sales staff.

    Incidentally, I have to say that I would like to borrow’s sales staff for about a month or so. They’ve done a good job of selling advertisements for sure.

  7. It’s amusing that anyone compares NewzJunky to the Watertown Daily Times. On one hand, you have a newspaper with trained, experienced reporters getting news…on the other, you have an ex-WDT employee who stole training, and now runs a website with random links to actual news and charges funeral homes to put up obituaries.

    Sad that anyone could compare them as if they were in the same category.

  8. All that matters is who’s winning, not how it gets done.

    I’d say the Watertown audience has already made the comparison and decided in favor of NewzJunky.

    What’s sad is that WDT let its audience defect to another site. The WDT may be the first daily newspaper in the US to just so totally, obviously blow it. It’s going to take a lot more, at this point, than just taking down the pay wall to ensure the survival of the newspaper.

  9. All content is not created equal. News has become so commoditized that subscription does not make sense for large scale operations dependent a large mainstream audience – the New York Times for example.

    But for niche, specialized content, the subscription model may be the best or even only profitable way of monetizing that content – at least until advertising technology online catches up and can measure and pay out efficiently based on the unique value of an audience.

  10. In addition to your paid-content model debunking, it might also be an example that the scale of newsrooms (and newspapers) will continue to find rough going from low-overhead competitors in large and small markets. Sort of questions the whole premise of the advantage of having “the largest newsgathering force …,” an advantage touted by almost every newspaper I’ve heard of as among its strategic assets and competitive advantages. Is it?

  11. There is more to the newz distribution model than the ‘free’ vs ‘pay’ scenario. The local paper, as elsewhere, dispenses news only once a day: in the morning, and it is at least 12 hrs and typically up to 48 hours ‘old’.

    NewzJunky has become soo reliable, that it offers links to newz virtually ‘instantly’. Marauding ‘citizen reporters’ e-message tips around the clock. Often, initial shots are indeed cell phone or digital camera photos. But they get the image of the scene to the consumer nearly instantly. No more ‘film at 11’ crap. The site is revisited multiple times a day, because the expectation is that updates will be seen throughout the day.

    Why bother to pick up the morning paper on Thursday, only to see the headlines announce something you already had read about and seen first-on-the-scene photos about, on Wednesday, or more often, on Tuesday?

    Stick a fork in the print delivery paradigm. Its digital for the 21st century.

  12. What you get on NJ are press releases, police reports, links to national news sites and titillating stories about Britney Spears…all good. Yes, you can also get immediate updates and photos on local fires, car crashes etc.

    What you get from the Watertown Times are in-depth, well-written stories, editorials, and opinion pieces about local issues, much more than the 2-minute blurbs the local TV station can carry. (For color, you can go to the ‘web board’ on NewzJunky to hear the unrestrained comments of a bunch of anonymous local folk.) You also get, in their Currents section, a really nice calendar of daily and upcoming events.

    I love the print version of the paper for its portability and because it’s a great break from staring at my computer monitor all day at work. I also like it because as I page through the paper I might read articles that I wouldn’t necessarily select if I was just scrolling down a screen. I like NJ for what it is too, and I check it several times a day. I watch the local news station too, a chance to see local stories in video form. I consider myself a REAL news junkie!

    What I DON’T like is all the sniping from NJ about the paper, it sounds immature and insecure. In today’s world, we need all the information we can get – ok, well maybe not about Britney Spears…

  13. Newzjunky is, indeed, a one-man operation. While many stories are johnnie-on-the-spot (especially those cell-phone photos), if he’s out of town (and away from his computer) for several hours (a trip to Syracuse is two+ hours of just drive time, never mind why you go), then there are zero updates to the site, no matter how big the story is. Hopefully he’ll catch up with it when he gets back on line, but it’s far from instantaneous.

    There has been controversy about the “instant photo” issue as well – how would you like to log onto such a site and see a picture of your family member’s car crushed by a semi (along with suggestions that there were fatalities at the scene)? Before you had been notified they were even in an accident?

  14. Howard’s not making an idealistic argument here. He’s making a rational observation.

    I read no argument against a newspaper, with its well-trained and educated staff, being the responsible guardian of the public’s interest the proper entity for conveying news and information to the local community anywhere in this post.

    This isn’t about ideals. It’s about reality. And the audience. The business model is changing rapidly, and unless we in the newspaper business can compete, we’re facing an uncertain future. Like it or not.

  15. In my opinion I would rather wait for updates on Newzjunky and find out information quick and every one I know goes by Newzjunky for there police blotter and obits. Mainly the reason for Newzjunky is so that people can interact out of state and find out what goes on while their a) vacationing b) go to florida because the winter here is horrific and c) its quick !!!

    Now if the news paper came every 8 hours right to my finger tips maybe then I would purchase the news paper. But I don’t and won’t !

  16. Howard, you say: “I’d say the Watertown audience has already made the comparison and decided in favor of NewzJunky.”

    I grant you that this is the case at the moment, based on the statistics you provide.

    But let’s not end the game prematurely. Keeping a content-based site fresh and exciting is a time consuming — and not easy — thing. Soon this one-man operator may grow tired of having to “feed the beast” and his audience fatigued by redundant sounding items about car crashes and house fires.

    I think you also dismiss the dependence on other sites prematurely. He may not link to the Watertown paper, but he sure links to a lot of mainstream sites.

    And I don’t quite understand this observation: “Not all local information requires reporters (look at Everyblock) to gather.”

    How do you think the content at Everyblock gets online? Trolls?

  17. Yes exactly, trolls.

    Everyblock’s search spiders troll municipal government and police website, Flickr, and other websites that have nothing to do with professional reporters or editors. It gathers, aggregates, sorts, and displays that information far more quickly and thoroughly than any human-powered effort could. It’s a new form of journalism that exists only online.

    And should Everyblock someday extend to Dublin, it’ll use leprechauns in addition to trolls.

  18. Yes. This I get.
    But it still requires smart people who know how to identify the most relevant information and deploy the technology to find it and present it in an understandable way. They may not have the title of “reporter” or “editor” but they will exercise some of the same skills.

    “It is a new form of journalism that exists only online” – I COMPLETELY agree with this statement.

  19. Dear Sally

    I understand your loyalty to your local paper. There is occasionally some insight into some local issues, and you can even determine if the town fire department is having bingo on Thursday or Friday night this week. My personal favorite is the daily column called “Corrections” You may have missed that one, as it is usually buried on an inside page.

    Allow me to correct numerous inaccuracies in your brief post (since it is you who favors ‘well written stories [and] editorials’.

    Newzjunky has NO affiliation with the local ‘web board’, other than to provide a convenient link to the site. The web board is run by a completely different group of volunteers, and allows participants to ‘speak their minds’. This website has been frequently excoriated by the Times.

    Not everything that appears on the newz web site appeals to everyone, any more than the whole paper appeals to everyone. But it likely appeals to SOMEONE, and there are counters on the site to verify that. As an example, not all-things-Jeff-Graham appeals to me, but apparently there ARE enough fans to warrant the 24/7 coverage.

    The ‘press releases and police reports’ are the same source docs that the newspaper ‘writers’ use as the basis of their stories. Very seldom does one of these SLU grads actually venture out of their office to verify any of the superfulous propaganda that is used to fluff out such reports . . . the writers merely refer to the paper’s morgue – or the guy at the next desk.

    And speaking of loved ones in a crash, you must just LOVE the extraneous material that the Times has habitually inserted into obituaries for years. Past DWI’s, scrapes with the law, perhaps a bounced check or two. They don’t even check to see if they have attributed the correct ‘trash’ to the right person! That is really a classy move.

    And how about the macabre photo of a dead child hanging out a window in his charred house. It didn’t come from a cell phone, but from a professional Kodak. That was REALLY a proud moment in local reporting.

    Opinions? HAH. Dozens of letters written in support of specific issues or candidates (by many writers) and not ONE of them published.

    And the local populace is really sick of the paper pontificating on who to vote for or what issue people should support. The editorial board cannot get the family business out of the ’40’s mindset, but they do not hesitate to tell local government how to run their shop. Its not their place to tell the good citizens of this County who or what they should stand behind. Present the facts and the issues 9which supposedly IS their job), and people will be capable of determining which direction they should go.

    You are mistaken to attribute ‘sniping of the local paper’ to Newzjunky. The local paper is NEVER referred to on NewzJunky. It is the TIMES that HAS taken numerous shots at the various electronic outlets in the County. But then again, as the paper is unashamed to get the facts of the story wrong, then you probably are too. They (former reporter Bert G) have told me several times, “Well, whatever we get wrong today, we can write about again tomorrow.”

    Don’t mean to upset you, personally, Sally. You are correct in seeking several sources for your daily news browsing. But I think your trust in the local newsprint, is quite unjustified.

    Digital Guy

  20. Wake up… and smell the ‘newz’ paper burning as kindling in my fire place. Newz Junky, in my year and a half of residence in the tundra (Watertown, NY), has been and will always be my source of newz… Has anyone seen the boob toob? Channel 7 seems to be my favorite… you know with the big newz about how schools are running out of snow days, or how about “Mrs. Fix-it” and her latest tutorial about how to fix a toilet…My absolute favorite time-killers are when Beth Hall or Jeff Cole bring local nobody’s and interview them. These people are truly inspiring. I just want to jump right out in subzero temps, to dodge the plows, and have a speghetti dinner at the local chapel. Mesmerizing.

    Not exactly, attention getting or relevent to many people (or myself)… Unless you are that guy who can barely hobble and like 80,000 years old.

    NJ does have up-to-the-minute weather. Useful to folks that need to travel up here in this cold wasteland.

    I’ve seen the local rag, known as the Watertoon Daily times. 3 – 4 pages of absolute (bias) junk written by whoever… the rest is ads… and ads… ads… and, oh, did I mention ads? Personally, I’d rather pay my 75 cents at the Dunkindonuts for USA Today.

    Its not about the dead people and the people in jail… its about what real people need to know. If this guy get paid buy the funeral homes and Capprara (i know, its misspelled) then more power to him I say. What other jobs are there to be had in Watertoon?! Sell phones in a Kiosk? Work at the paper mill? ‘That Guy’ who made Newzjunky into what is had a great idea!!! Newz for free… And he’s getting paid!!!! I wish I had that idea! I’d never leave the house….

    PEACE!!!! I’M OUTTA HERE!!!!!

  21. “Digital Guy” Quote: “And speaking of loved ones in a crash, you must just LOVE the extraneous material that the Times has habitually inserted into obituaries for years. Past DWI’s, scrapes with the law, perhaps a bounced check or two. They don’t even check to see if they have attributed the correct ‘trash’ to the right person! That is really a classy move.”

    Not a single obit written in the times has DWI information “stuffed” into it unless it’s mention the person drove drunk, crashed and as a result, died. Get thy facts straight.

    And obits are news, whether Sue Smith, who married a crack dealer, wants to admit it. If the guy spent 70% of his life in jail, guess what, it’s part of his story and will probably be included in his obituary. But if you pass a bad check, it’s not going in, and much effort is made to verify information that families blatantly can lie about, so please stop perpetuating the myth, “Digital Guy” and get your own facts straight.

  22. Ceej, That’s a pretty grim outlook on life, my man… Cause if you know so much about the obituaries, then you seriously need a new hobby. Not for nothing, that’s pretty morbid that you know so much about that particular subject…

    Here is the other have of my two cents… It would be irresponcible to rely so much on Watertoon’s ‘ragtag newz paper. It seems to be bias (an opinion) and frankly, what ever Jeff Graham is (is not) doing at his part-time job (running Fort Pearl, his other job) for his city really does not interest me… or responcible adults that are not willing to stay in the mediocracy that is known as Watertoon. (Really, I don’t think being a bar owner and being a Mayor are remotly the same… call me crazy but I didn’t vote for him.) But I am remiss in my point (and my opinion), be responcible in making your determination about what is newz and what is ‘fake’. Read something more than that rag (the Times) and make Educated decisions based on all sides of whatever truth that one searches for.

    And get out of the obituaries! If you don’t know them, what does it matter?! They died, period. One less 81 year old to worry about driving on the road… Callous? Yes. True? Most likely… I now worry about my wife’s safety because of it… a rant nothing more. (let the flame’s begin)

    no, really, I’M OUTTA HERE!!!!

  23. ceej, aka George Castanza, who once said, “The TRUTH is whatever I believe.”

    Its encouraging to see that you stick up for your work.

    But the FACT remains, I have personally seen the times attribute prior life choices to the WRONG person in an obituary, without calling to verify the veracity of their claims. Including the history of a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FAMILY in an obit, is absolutely UNPROFESSIONAL.

    One thing your organization and Smitty DO have in common, is the ability to MISSPELL words, right in the HEADLINES ! ! ! Must be the ‘training’ you spoke of.

    Too Funny.

  24. It’s All About Depth, we’ve heard that one before. Conventional media that’s getting beat by small-staff online news operations are just flashes in the pan who will eventually get tired and then leave the field to the folks who’ve been there for decades or whatever. Sorry to tell you this, as a one-person advertiser-supported online news operation (with, like NewzJunky, the help of an army of citizen tipsters) — well, 2 people, really; I shouldn’t discount my partner, who does the business development while I do 95% of the content – we’re not going to pass out and go away, sorry to disappoint you. I worked in conventional media for more than a quarter of a century and applied all this energy there too, only in many cases to run up against uncomprehending corporate walls. It was a risk on a wing and a prayer to leave, but so far it’s looking like the right bet. 18 hours a day and 7 days a week for now, but our revenue is growing and we should be able to hire some help before the year’s out.

  25. Er, sorry. I omitted the words “THINK WE” before “just flashes…” Haste made waste. Gotta get back to the latest news flash on my own site.

  26. WSB, first of all, I don’t for a second think sites like yours are going away. Ever. And I also don’t believe the conventional media (which I do not represent, btw) will either win by standing still OR by recreating the printed product online OR by trying to become TV.

    I was simply suggesting that it is premature to call the battle in Watertown over. The newspaper may, or many not, wake up. I assume that more than a few daily papers will go down. But the point is, the Internet is a democracy. If NewzJunky can do it, so can someone else. And whoever collects and publishes the most comprehensive, accurate information and presents it best will win. So if you think your days will get shorter the more revenue you collect; well, I am afraid to say it, but probably not.

  27. Grim, yes, perhaps to some. I’m one class away from taking my boards to become a Funeral Director. Writing a decent obituary is important to families, as it’s the last time the deceased’s name will appear in print (in most cases) and you wouldn’t believe the number of people who frame/cut out obits of family and friends to keep.

    And, while I am intruiged and interested in the field, even I know that funeral directors get things wrong. It was almost slapped into our brains in classes to always get correct spellings and information, but it’s not always easy with families who, once someone dies, wants to do everything but cannonize them…everyone. That includes people who shoot others , sell crack and make other poor decisions in life. I’ve seen funeral directors get the last name completely wrong and sent it in for publication. Who gets the blame? The paper…not the person who comletely f*ed up and gave over the wrong information.

    I’m not saying no mistakes were ever made (that would be ridiculous and a blatant lie – I’ve gone through the paper a couple times and corrected with a red pen), but say a funeral home, who pays a certain website $150 a month AND $25 per obit to post whatever they want without verification OR editing gets a name wrong…or a birthdate, or age, etc…there’s no one trying to get it right.

    Now which is unprofessional? Trying to make sure everything printed is correct by verifying information, and getting it “wrong” .5% of the time, or “printing” everything without any checks at all and putting something wrong out there with a higher percentage?

    “Who is trying to be less morbid, sorry”

  28. I’ve watched the NewzJunky/WDT saga from a safe distance in Syracuse and I have to say I don’t get what the fuss is about.

    Newzjunky collects the news written by other outlets and supplements it with some of his own work to make a compelling portal for local news. The WDT is not a portal; it is a content creator.

    So Newzjunky makes money by linking to stories. So does Google and I don’t see the Times screaming about that. In fact, they WANT Google to link to them. So it’s not really about that at all, is it? It’s about being pissed at a former employee who’s doing what the Times would have been smart to have done.

    The WDT has taken lots of shots at Newzjunky, most of them unfair, nearly all of them ignorant. The Times refused to play head-to-head on the internet and got what it deserved.

    With its circulation dropping, the Times is now trying to join the internet age. Problem is, Newzjunky’s low overhead means it can gather more advertisers at lower cost. The Times cannot sell ads for the price that Newzjunky can sell them for. (Well, it can, but that would be stupid and self-defeating.) Even if, someday, by some miracle, both sites had equal readership, Newzjunky will remain more profitable.

    Posters who cling to the notion of the uniqueness of newspapers miss the point — print is only a delivery mechanism for news and advertising, and a relatively average-to-poor one. Why that notion was lost on the Times and so many others for so long is beyond me. But arrogance and ignorance do not constitute a business plan, except if the plan is for failure.

  29. ” . . . arrogance and ignorance do not constitute a business plan . . . ” [STANDING OVATION]

    I, too, am riled as I have seen first-hand erroneous info inserted into an obituary: info that a.) had NOTHING to do with the deceased, because b.) was about a completely DIFFERENT family ! ! ! What the he11 were you thinking???

    So it’s your arrogant corporate mindset (CEEJ) that has MANY former readers “mad as hell, and NOT taking it anymore.”

    So there are my ‘facts’.

    Digital Guy

  30. I will also point out that the newspaper circulation fell nearly 22% during the time that Jefferson County was experiencing a significant growth spurt. They even call themselves the fastest growing county in NYS. Imagine that!

  31. “I, too, am riled as I have seen first-hand erroneous info inserted into an obituary: info that a.) had NOTHING to do with the deceased, because b.) was about a completely DIFFERENT family ! ! ! What the he11 were you thinking???”

    And sometimes the information is correct, but the family just doesn’t like the fact that not everything printed makes their loved one out to be a saint. ZOMG a mistake…how could that happen? No one ever makes mistakes…ever. *snort*

    “So it’s your arrogant corporate mindset (Ceej) that has MANY former readers “mad as hell, and NOT taking it anymore.””

    *eyebrow raise* Arrogant corporate mindset? That’s a new one. I’ll have to let my manager know that here at the Day’s Inn. Perhaps it will get me a promotion to corporate.

    “Mad as hell,” funny. It’s a newspaper…vs…a link site? Made by someone who was trained on the newspaper’s dime who created it while employed at said newspaper, THAT sounds rather arrogant to me.

  32. Out of context, but you are welcome to your own opinion of the paper. I was just trying to correct blatant bs and offer my own opinion.

    Ignorance is bliss.

  33. Greetings. Let us not foget that WDT owns the Carthage and Lowville weeklys. Any body ever read thess papers? Carthage has fine content for the local people. It is well done. Lowville has content that well, what happened to the rest of the story when you go to that page it says it is supposed to be there, spelling?. The (timelyness)of events is really a know brainer because you would probably be late to that event. Does that tell you about the people behind the opperation! As for obits most do their home work but I have to agree with y’all that family’s tend to pontificate!
    I hate to admit it but we do get the WDT and also Sports Ill.and News Week. And a few other mags. We also like Newz because it is an alternative for our busy life styles. The US of A is what capitalism is all about. How the new guy can make it, and how the old guy steps up the plate or strikes out.

  34. ps; The Newz site is vast. It took along time to set it up. Now it still takes time but the template is all done. Editing , adding & deleteing still takes time but not as much. It is a thing of love! I speak so because I ran two web sites and it is not easy!

  35. Perhaps you can understand how the WDT works if you take the time to contact them sometime about thier products. I did last Aug 07 when their editor at the Lowville Journal ran the wrong information about my community service program and I got the wrath of the owner H.Johnson for my troubles. Mr. Johnson vebally abused me over the phone, used pro-found language, belittle my community services program and made threats against myself and the program. He used his influence over my parent agency as contributors to void my 5 year volunteership and ruin my credibility in the local community by running a half assed story of me quiting but never gave any of the facts of who, what, where, how and why, thus leaving the community I served at large with wondering minds and we all know what hppens when only part of the story is read. I’de say thats why the News Junky is looking good to folks.

    “At a time when newspapers are trying to ensure their survival by attracting younger readers, the idea of endorsements is both counterproductive and an anachronism,” says Time managing editor Rick Stengel. “When papers take sides in presidential elections,” he argues, “they undermine the very basis for their business, which is impartiality. It’s a recipe for having less influence, not more.”

  37. I am in fact located directly among the Watertown Times vs. Newzjunky metropolis of Watertown New York.

    Please note my last sentence at the bottom, it is important.

    Not being a journalist by any means, I have been a public servant (NY State) in the design field for 30 years, and just retired into my art business last fall. I have to make a big decision on where to place my advertising budget soon, as the 08 tourist season fast approaches.

    I can tell you first hand – Newzjunky has a large problem now that the W Times has gone free on it’s site. You failed, in your article, to even note the very dramatic drop in hits on Newzjunky, which corresponded to a large increase in hits for Watertown Times for March 08. Didn’t you see that?

    I feel that is only the tip of the iceberg. Basicly, because Newzjunky seems to still be a one-person operation, and the owner of that seems inclined to want to keep it that way. They will be hard pressed to relinquish business smart decision of his business to others. Thus his business can’t grow. Yet the full force of a major news organization, with dozens of professionals employed is about to come to bear.

    I’ve done research. The vast majority of subscribers to Newzjunky are not interested in the fine arts. (see my web site The W-Times audience is so higher in terms of cultural sophistication of audience, I feel that by far outweighs the number differences for advertising goals of a small business such as mine.
    And the W-Times numbers only look to be improving.

    Thus for my local advertising, I will be placing my summer on-line adds with the Watertown Times site. My reasoning is also this – There are so few adds on the Times site – My add will get far greater attention (for now). That is a great plus!

    Last sentence: I think it is odd that the one person who owns Newzjunky can be the sole deciding entity of what does, and what does not get on there. Could this be dangerous? Yes, indeed. But again, the facts of business life are about to catch up with Junky. I go with the Times, in Watertown.

    Thank you.

    Bill Christopherson.

  38. Bill, thanks for your note, and thank you for using your real name.

    A couple of things.

    First, this post is about two months old, so the latest stats would not be reflected in it.

    That said,

    Yes, slight drop off for NJ and big increase for WDT, but NJ still has a huge lead in audience.

    Yes, NJ is vulnerable because of a lack of sound business practices.

    But that doesn’t mean he won’t stick around, won’t continue to draw revenue from the local advertising pie (meaning less for the incumbents) … his core audience remains very, very loyal (based on my own in-town research). It’s not likely that at this point his audience share will decline so much that he doesn’t remain a vital advertising buy for savvy marketers. His ads are effective and have great reach and frequency within the market. And his rates are dirt cheap. NJ is probably only going away if the owner gets bored with it and decides to move on to something else.

    As for your last setence, on a larger philosophical journalistic take — how is it dangerous? There are multiple news outlets in town. Most people who read NJ also read the print edition. They also listen to the radio and watch TV, so they’re well informed. It’s not like NJ has a monopoly position. But more than that — NJ is just linking, linking, linking — linking to everything as far as I can tell, with no apparent political agenda and no personal comment. So NJ isn’t just, in reality, one person. He’s one person among many helping keep WT informed. I just don’t think your statement holds water.

  39. I just happened to find this blog while looking around and search about newspapers. If Newzjunky is such a great “idea”, why don’t newspapers follow that lead instead of treating their sites like a read headed step-child?

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