Monday, February 9, 2009

Newspaper Web Sites Should Go Dark For a Week

Can you imagine how many truly awful blog essays and monographs would be written that week?
From the Columbia Journalism Review:

Earlier, I linked to Steve Brill’s “secret” memo to the New York Times urging them to start charging online readers. Brill suggested, at one point, “a new marketing campaign …’you get what you pay for.’” Here, TJ Sullivan of LAObserved suggests a sort of “you don’t get what you don’t pay for” approach that he hopes might convince readers of all online newspapers to pony up:

Now is the time for newspapers to do something proactive; time for them to demonstrate what life would be like without them.

It’s time for every daily newspaper in the United States, in cooperation with the Associated Press, to shut down their free Web sites for one week.

Yes. Shut it down. Blank screen. Nothing.

Of course, news would still be reported daily in every newspaper’s printed product. No editor, or reporter or publication would dare shirk their watchdog responsibilities. This isn’t about stopping the presses.

But the Web? People can do without news on the Web for a week. They won’t like it. They’ll complain about it. But, that’s exactly what has to happen before they can be expected to care.

Pulling the plug gets their attention....MORE