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Monday, February 18, 2008

Journalism without ads?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Sorry for the blogging hiatus. I really should have taken a day off after returning from San Fran, just to get my ducks in a row, but I didn't. And now I'm paying for it.

Here's an interesting opinion piece about journalism from Edward Wasserman, a j-school prof at my alma mater, Washington and Lee University. Incidentally, I didn't actually study much journalism there — I was an English major.

Wasserman wonders, "Can journalism live without ads?" I wonder that, too.

Modern computing offers unparalleled capacities to track andcalculate. Imagine a vast menu of news and commentary offered to youad-free for pennies per item, the charges micro-billed, added up andpresented like a utility bill at month's end. The money that journalismproviders got would depend on their audience.

Plus, if youuploaded comment or video in response, to the degree it was downloadedby others you'd get credited for it -- compensated like any otherprovider.

Interesting. I looked into the micro-billing option a few years ago, when I was working for cartoonist Alison Bechdel. At the time, it seemed that there weren't any good ways to micro-bill. Has that changed?

I wish there were a way to either 1) allow people to pay a small fee if they choose or 2) make some things pay per view (like, pay a few cents per view), in exchange for dispensing with ads online.

I'm not sure how I feel about it all yet — as a media-lover or as a media company employee — but I'd like to know more about what's out there.

I should add that I'm not really sure that removing ads is a good idea — not just because they pay my salary, but also because I use them as a source of information. A different type of information, to be sure, but they're a source nonetheless.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

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About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Bio:
Cathy Resmer is a former staff writer and currently an associate publisher at Seven Days, and is one of the organizers of the Vermont Tech Jam. She's also the Copublisher and Executive Editor of Kids VT, Seven Days' free monthly parenting publication.

More by Cathy Resmer

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