With the end of October comes the end of free online access to the Star Tribune. Tomorrow begins a test of whether Minnesotans are in the mood to pay news contained in the state’s largest newspaper.
Well, that’s a bit of a misnomer. No one can be asked “pay for news” because no one “owns” the news. Copyright law protects only the way the news is written and otherwise presented. No one can own facts. Still, the Strib most certainly owns the way it writes about and presents the facts.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, effect the subscription arrangement has on websites such as www.bringmethenews.com, which provides hyperlinks to full stories in media across Minnesota. Also, bloggers who cut and paste Strib content word-for-word into their blogs could face increased scrutiny and potential legal liability.
But arguably, it’s time for a generation of news consumers who have grown up assuming news is “free” to learn a hard reality: gathering and presenting the news takes time, and effort, and talent. And people who work in the news biz deserve and need to be compensated for their efforts.