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Jon Stewart Talks to Walter Isaacson on The Daily Show About Charging "iTunes-Like" Fee To Read Newspapers Online

Would You Start Paying For News Online After Getting It Free?

On The Daily Show the other night, Jon Stewart chatted with Walter Isaacson of Time Magazine about how to save print newspapers and magazines in the face of so many recent closings. In this clip, Isaacson laments the same news being on the Internet for free, and Stewart says firmly, "Sir, the Internet is free, I think everybody knows that."

Isaacson even suggests an iTunes-like system for news — not a bad idea, Mr. Isaacson, except that you're charging people for something that was once free (as Stewart says, this is "backtracking"). Not to mention that the iTunes/music connection doesn't really make sense, since music on the Internet was never legally free.

I'm still shocked that some papers' online versions charge for subscriptions, and I don't think I would convert to a new system of payment. Still, when it's saving print newspapers, it's not insane. Considering that over 80 percent of you say you read news on the Internet, while almost the same percentage said you wouldn't pay to subscribe to the New York Times online, tell me; would you start paying for news online?

Join The Conversation
Pegona Pegona 8 years
Rightrightrightrightlol, people are gonna pay to read Time Magazine online. I'm not sure this guy has ever actually used the internet; he's just heard all the hype. For internet news, advertising pays the bills--just like with print media! Duh.
EvilDorkGirl EvilDorkGirl 8 years
No way I'm ponying up for news content, not that it's going to happen. Vitamin's right -- this guy is incredibly out of touch and doesn't seem to get it at all. Usually the guests on the Daily Show are a lot better than that.
homekeeper homekeeper 8 years
It should be free, I don't think I would pay for it online. I would most likely find it somewhere online that was free of others started charging for it. ;)
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
I would never, EVER pay for the news! Apart from newspapers, because they're cheap :P
VitaminCM VitaminCM 8 years
This guy is totally lost. I watched the entire interview twice. It was as if he was trying to be wrong about every point he made. Just a taste: "You can't make money giving away content and using advertising as revenue." (paraphrased) Really, somehow I missed ABC, NBC, and CBS begging congress for bailout money.
devils devils 8 years
hell no - i'd just turn on the tv...i already pay for the cable!
Antimony Antimony 8 years
I never sign up/pay for any news online.. I will just find a different site to get information. Maybe have the option to pay to not see the ads, but don't charge for basic news :x! Or maybe offer video feeds and charge for those? But yeah, doesn't sound like a very good idea...
kedawen kedawen 8 years
I loved the suggestion about the addictive ink. Teehee. I would never want to pay for online newspaper, I can't even be bothered to register for free to get full articles or whatever. Yeah this guy was interesting, the "old media" ideas about making money are hard to get past apparently.
angelabeth angelabeth 8 years
I refuse to even pay for my local newspaper. I can just get every news station and online for free WITH to the minute updates AND video streaming. andthewritersatmylocalpapersuck*COUGH*
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i don't think that i'd be open to paying for this type of media online. there's something to be said about having certain information free to the public, and if i had to pay for news that i currently get for free, i'd be a bit upset. there's a reason why online sites have advertisers - so that we don't have to pay - so just keep it that way!
stargazer25 stargazer25 8 years
Just depends, if I have to pay for the content then I don't want to see any advertisement. But then again that depends on the price point.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
Recently I've been working with my 72 year old father in law to do a community blog for our small town. He keeps looking at this as a money making venture and wants to charge for this or that. I keep trying to explain to him it's not like his Yellow Page days and you can't do that. Get the hits and the advertisers will pay, you just don't charge the users. This is old school thinking by print men that are desperate to not change the way they are used to doing business.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
wmoonw wmoonw 8 years
This guy came off as the kind of person who sees the readers as money bags with eyes. But if the information is important enough, someone will be willing to give it to me for free. . . . Oh, I can't watch this again now, I'm at work, but didn't he mention something about making deals with the ISPs or internet browser companies where their users can get the content for free? Ugh, I can't wait for some net neutrality legislation or something so that we can stop hearing ideas like that.
ChicBookFiend ChicBookFiend 8 years
For every news source that would charge for their content online, there will be dozens that offer it for free. Guess which one I'll use?
GreekWife3508 GreekWife3508 8 years
I am addicted to reading the news online, but I would never pay for it.
iblastoff iblastoff 8 years
ps since i live in canada, that video clip doesn't work for me. another huge backtracking blunder by corporations who still think there's valid jurisdiction to their broadcasted material online.
iblastoff iblastoff 8 years
definitely would not pay for it online. if i can't get access to an article from a certain online news feed because it turned into a subscription based service, then i'd just switch and find another free alternative source. who reads their news from only one paper anyway?
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
I can't see myself paying for it. It's not unique content and I can still get it at my library for free if I don't want to bother with the internet. I'm not even bothering with an e-reader until my library has access to e-content for free. Then it might be worth it. maybe.
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