Saturday, September 28, 2002

The Columbus Dispatch Website no longer Free to Read
Starting October 1st the Dispatch will cost $4.95 a month to read online, unless you subscribe to the print copy. This does not bode well for news coverage for the state. The Dispatch has good state government coverage that Cincinnati does not have. I fear this is the future of most newspapers. This is going to kill blogging at some point, or it will just be transformed to more original content. This will also cut off people from other communities, unless that is where blogs can thrive. If local Columbus blogs can keep the rest of us up to date on the Dispatch's coverage, we will be able to keep informed. The next step will be for other newspapers to follow suit. The Cincinnati Post will fold into the Kentucky Post in a few years. At that point the Enquirer will look to charge for subscriptions. Lexis/Nexus may be making a comeback in the future if this trend continues. The Dispatch will see its website loose nearly all of its traffic outside the metro area. They will, however, see local subscriptions rise, which is their plan. If I lived in Columbus I would pay for the online edition. I think Gannett and Scripps-Howard are waiting to see how this turns out.

My hope to cover more statewide issues will not be as fruitful as I had hoped. I hope the Enquirer will pick up this slack. That is a pipedream, but one can hope.

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