Tuesday, May 15, 2007
STRATEGIC: Tribune's Jack Fuller says "time to pay the piper"
By Staci D.Kramer in Evanston, Ill.
Trib's Jack Fuller -- Time to Pay the Piper (by Staci Kramer, guest
blogging the ONA conference from Evanston, Ill): No surprises but a smooth
look at online economic reality from Tribune president Jack Fuller, who
opened ONA's 4th annual conference with a warning about giving content
away. He should know -- Fuller estimates that he has signed off on
online-related expenses netting out to $600 million. "Eventually someone
will have to pay the piper," said Fuller, predicting that news sites will
move to a model at least paid in part by the subscriber. (The Trib's
LATimes.com is already charging for access to some coverage.) Offering
free content from the start "may have been our biggest mistake... We all
did it." Compounding the problem: much of that "free" content is expensive
to produce. He said free online content may not be siphoning readers away
from newspapers completely but that online is cannabilizing print in terms
of frequncy of use. Instead of reading the paper seven days a week people
are picking up the print edition less and going online in between.
Tribune's Fuller: Future is paid content
By Kelly O'Brien
November 14, 2003
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The president of Tribune Publishing said Friday that the
future of online journalism will likely include paid content.
.We got everybody used to the idea that things that cost a lot of money to
make ought to be available for absolutely nothing,. said Jack Fuller,
describing the earliest days of online news publishing.
But, he said, out of necessity, .I think everyone will move, at least in
part, to a model paid by the reader..
Addressing the Online News Association.s fourth annual conference in
Chicago, Fuller conceded, "Nobody wants to go first. If you go first, you
Fuller, the keynote speaker, pointed out another lesson that must be
learned if the online media are going to thrive: adaptability.
"People get upset when newspapers change," said Fuller, but they also get
upset when online media don't.
The trick is knowing how to change, he said.
"What we need to do in confronting changes," he said, "is experiment,
assess the results and adapt over and over and over again."
In essence, Fuller said, journalists would be "experimenting our way to
Since the advent of online journalism, Fuller said that a great deal of
information has been gained on what young people, in particular, expect
from their news coverage.
He was encouraged that "we can reach young people with what we like to
think of as news," he said, "so long as we don.t make the news reports too
demanding, too long, or too difficult."
However, he added that young readers want editors to acknowledge that they
know "what the difference is between what.s important in the world and
what's just entertaining."
Fuller's comments to about 250 ONA members kicked off the two-day
conference, which will also address media convergence, coverage of the
Iraqi war and the increasing popularity of Weblogs. The winners of the 4th
Annual Online Journalism Awards will be announced Saturday night.
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