You might have heard (and if not, John Schuster covers the happenings in Media Watch this week) but the Arizona Daily Star put up a paywall on their website on Sunday. Well, maybe we shouldn't say the p-word, since—like most newspapers that go this route—the Star did everything they could to use some sort of newspeak to call limited access to online news anything but a paywall. Instead, it's a "new subscription model!" How fun!
Yes, we all have to figure out how to make money in this biz, considering no one really seems to enjoy paying for things these days, but let's be serious for a minute, no one thinks this is actually going to work, right? It's one thing to try a premium section (maybe extra UA sports coverage for the truly obsessive Wildcat fan?), but when you have what appears to be a very soft paywall (I think we all have our little secrets on how to get around them, whether that's a website mode or going in a side route), there's more incentive to just cheat the system than actually cough up the money. I'm pro-journalists getting paid, but it's hard to justify throwing more cash down to Park and Irvington when it's probably just going to end up as a micro-percentage point of a Lee Enterprises executive's bonus next quarter.
So, around here, the Tucson Local Media sites, including TucsonWeekly.com will remain paywall-free. Click around as much as you like (please). Alt-weeklies have been in the business of getting money from other sources than the reader for years, so we'll just stick to that.