City Desk

What Would You Pay To Read An Award-Winning Alt-Weekly?

newspapersYesterday, the New York Times announced that it would be cutting 100 newsroom jobs via buyouts and layoffs. When the best paper in the country has to cut jobs, that's bad, very bad news. Anyone that's checked out lately will tell you that the news industry isn't clamoring for reporters. But the news provoked a surprisingly sympathetic response from Times readers. Some offered to pay money to read the paper's online version!

Will you, dear reader, beg to pay us for our online journalism?

*photo courtesy of mediabistro.

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  • Dave

    No, I would not. But thanks for asking!

  • Jason Cherkis

    That seems like a firm no. What could we do to change your mind?

  • Dave Stroup

    I'd be willing to pay.

    I imagine some sort of micropayment system, where, for example I could pay $1.00 per month to read WCP feeds. Perhaps it's all unified under some sort of Google-reader style system with Google Checkout to pay for it.

    I'd pay maybe even up to $5.00/mo for actual journalism. I'd pay maybe $0.50 or so for a good local blog.

    A medium sized blog with 5-10K rss subscribers, if only 50% of them would pay $0.50 per month, you're looking at enough money to finance the operation.

    But, people expect all content for free these days. No matter what.

    I'd absolutely not pay only to access the web content of a site. I'd want my subscription to unlock RSS feeds as well, all of that.

  • Dave

    Why should I pay for your website when your print version is free?

  • dc fooooodie

    I would pay - severl sites have "tip jars" on them taht allow one-click submission.

  • Simon

    "Award-winning weekly" my butt. Your paper issue is nothing more than a reprint of the blogs. I check online nearly every weekday, but haven't picked up a paper copy in months.

  • Mike

    I used to live in D.C. back in the 90's. Since I was away, I would visit the online site to stay current on the what was happening in D.C. I've noticed a drastic change in the direction CityPaper online has taken within the last two years. It seems that you've done away with really any substantive reporting, and just focused on blogging. No offense, but I would not pay to visit, or read your online site, since ninety percent of the time I do visit it, I'm disappointed, and feel that I've wasted my time.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Mike: What content disappoints you most? Don't worry my feelings won't be hurt if you say "police reporting" or "anything related to Barry."

    We still do post investigative cover stories. See our story on Ron Moten. That story is an excellent example of alt-weekly journalism at its best.

  • Muckraker

    The print edition is not free in Chinatown. The dang boxes have been empty for three weeks. What gives?

  • jf1

    I don't know.

    Take all the annoying ads out, and write some interesting articles, and let me check it out for a while, meanwhile I'll think about it.

  • Jason Cherkis

    What kinds of stories do you want to see more of?

  • downtown rez

    FWIW, I think CP's features are good more often than not. And I like to read LL, who IMO covers things better than WP does.
    The online columns (they're not really web logs in the way I think of blogs) strike me as a good model. Especially since they can be collected once/week for print.

  • Matty B

    Nobody's addressing Cherkis' questions.

    Your features can range from decent to superb, but I do notice that they are growing gradually slimmer (in this past issue it only covered two pages). Sometimes the cover story is only a column and there isn't even an additional piece of in-depth reportage. I understand that journalism is getting to be a fast, terse environment, but I'm also sure that your readership would appreciate deep, comprehensive stories on a weekly basis. Don't become like the new WaPo Magazine that you justafiably berate nearly every day.

    Moreover: besides the features, your news section consists only of columns, and three of them syndicated at that. Most of them are very good, but seriously - what gives? I know more stuff is happening in the District every week. And I'm not implying that you should merely copy and paste blog posts into the print edition. Expand on them, perhaps, but they need to be actual worthwhile articles.

    That being said, everything in the print edition should be available online.

  • Will Atwood Mitchell

    Shit, if I could think of a way to make our online content *more* free, I would do that.

  • sock puppet

    I wouldn't mind paying to have a subscription mailed to an ex-patriot and often, the online content is trial ballooned ideas and the print has more fleshed out development.

  • liam

    Sites I'd be willing to pay for:

    NY Times
    Huff Post
    W Post (until this latest redesign, anyway)
    and probably you guys

  • Dave

    I find the paper version more useful.
    90% of the reason that I read any alt-weekly is for the restaurant reviews.
    If you charge, then I will just use Yelp more.

  • The Real Dave

    Hey! Quit bogarting my handle, fake Dave!

  • Mike

    Mr. Cheriks: I don't mind the Barry stories, but I would like to see more stories that involve what goes on in the Distrit, and affect District residents, besides the filming of The Real World. I enjoyed the story about the westside library patrons complaining about the homeless using the facility, Wilson's High School defunct swimming pool, and the whistle blowing fire fighter.

  • Truth Hurts

    I'll contribute to keep CP going if it comes to that. Some stories/blogs suck, but CP has 3 or 4 top notch, savvy reporters that deliver the goods day after day. What kind of city would DC be without the city paper?


    City Paper needs to be more alternative, more hard-core. Beef up the investigative reporting. Start pushing the envelope more.

    More coverage of social and political issues. Areas devoted to green technology. Vegetarianism. Anti-war activities.

    Get more left-wing. Stop pretending to be alternative. Printing cheap porno ads and carrying Savage Love don't make you cool or "underground"

    DC has enough of Play it Safe, stripped down corp. whore bullshit.

  • Patrick

    How much could we pay you to shut down?