10/25/2005

"Education Week" Makes Us Pay: Are We Suckers?

The education world was rocked earlier this fall -- well, stirred a little -- when Education Week decided that only subcribers would have full access to their current edition, their archives, and their daily roundup of education articles.

Stubborn boy that I am, I can't get myself to write that check.

And now I find that I'm not alone: Today's young people believe only suckers pay for content (Jim Romanesko). I'm not sure I like the company, or the reasoning. I'm not that young. I'm a writer. I like getting paid for my work. But...maybe I really am that cheap.

The Education Week site has been for many years an invaluable -- and free -- trove of past articles, and the daily clips that had been added more recently were just as useful. But Education Week decided it needed to make some money for all its efforts, a decision not entirely like the New York Times' recent change to a mixed system where access to the writings of certain columnists costs money, while the rest of the content is free.

Other papers and magazines, like The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Atlantic, and Harper's, have long required a subscription. Salon.com requires that you either subscribe or view an ad before reading a full story.

But it doesn't always work out. Slate.com, for example, tried the pay-for-perusal approach nearly a decade ago, but couldn't get readership and eventually went free. The New Yorker, Chicago Magazine, and other outlets that had for years kept only a minor presence on the web so that you had to get (and pay for) the real thing in order to see what was in there, have recently started making more and more content available online, for free -- the opposite direction that Education Week is going.

So I wonder whether subscriptions have gone up as much as Education Week had hoped, or not. I wonder whether the site is getting as many visits as it has in the past -- and inbound links from people like me that get it additional attention.

Have you written your check yet?

2 Comments:

Blogger Jerry Moore said...

Not me. But I have considered paying the subscription and republishing the daily news links for free. What do you think of that?

10:40 PM  
Blogger Alexander Russo said...

i hadn't thought of that, but i don't know i'd do it or endorse it. i guess if i was really opposed to what they were doing, i'd get folks to stop reading/subscribing.

11:53 PM  

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