The NY Times, itself hurting in this bad economy, published an article today about how some newspapers in Europe are thriving: European Papers Find Creative Ways to Thrive. The comparison is a bit assymetrical since, as the article says, “American newspapers are seen as journalism’s gold standard,” but it’s great that journalism is doing well in some locales. The best thing is that they’re able to grow their numbers while keeping the news free:
VG Nett, like most newspaper Web sites, generates most of its revenue from advertising, but is starting to raise money from users. About 150,000 people pay up to 599 crowns, or nearly $90, a year for a weight-loss club. VG Nett recently started charging up to 780 crowns a year for live streams of soccer matches. And a social network connected with VG Nett charges users to upgrade their profiles. Access to news, however, remains free.
That weight loss club may be the answer. One advantage of the web is community, and if there’s a way to merge the news with greater access to community, people might be willing to pay for it. Demand for the news is greater than ever. There must be a solution.