No, Let Me Tell YOU What is Premium....

In recent weeks both Slate (which I don't have delivered to my house) and The New York Times (which I do -- depending on if the delivery guy thinks he can get through last night's snow) have decided that I need more of their content, and have plans to invite me to pay for it. Slate wants $5 a month and the Grey Lady has her hand out for $10 a month. In exchange, they are offering enticements such as  members-only live chats, ad-free podcasts, compilations of pastarticles on a single topic -- and worst of all, "fascinating behind-the-scenes accounts" of the big stories they’re covering. Really?

I get that news organizations would like to become less reliant on ad revenue and so are squeezing readers for every possible dime.  I mean, the Times will sell you everything from teddy bears to jewelry to autographs in their effort to broaden their revenue stream. Can't blame them. Cable and the Internet have not been kind to old-school journalism. But if you want another dime out of me, you'll have to come up with "plus" packages that are a wee bit more interesting. Such as:

Access to entire photo files: Want to see the plane crash pix too gory to put in the paper? The nipple slips from last night's red-carpet event? Celebs and politicos looking their worst rather than their best? Sign me up.

Videos of story conferences: Confirm what America already suspects: that some stories get in over others because a senior editor's kid had an experience and now he/she argues it will be a national trend and deserves space.

Audiotapes of bathroom conversations, where editors and reporters (not unlike politicians) say what is REALLY on their minds about the people, places and things they cover. Peel back that meaningless notion of objectivity. Let us all in on the jokes.

Transcripts of audiotapes of interviews juxtaposed to the final story: We'll know when the reporter got it wrong and took a quote out of context because it supported his premeditated theory. And think of how helpful this will be when enraged subjects complain, "That's not at all what I said!" Let us all be public editors.

Stories that didn't make it: In PR, you gets lots of dubious excuses about why a story didn't run. How about a list of stories that were considered, and the real reason they were killed? Give us an insider view of your thinking. Let's see how well excuses match up with reality.

Full access: For every story that is "fit to print," dozens more get a line of copy or are rejected. Let us see the entire news feed (including all of the wire service stories) in a searchable database so we can see what's breaking that isn't "important for our readers.”

2 comments about "No, Let Me Tell YOU What is Premium....".
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  1. Adam Hartung from spark partners, April 25, 2014 at 11:07 a.m.

    EXCELLENT!! Agree that the offers to entice payment are pretty lame.

  2. William Hoelzel from JWB Associates, April 25, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.

    I agree. And I want the same thing from my favorite restaurants -- show me the garbage you threw away, show me the dishes that didn't turn out, let me se what customers sent back, tell me what you're saying in the kitchen about your customers and their tastes, list all the dishes you've prepared that you wouldn't eat yourself. I want to go behind the scenes, and I'll pay to see how the sausage is made!

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