There have been dozens and dozens of articles about whether newspapers should charge online for content.
This most recent one, published in the Dallas Morning News, makes the case better than I've ever seen it made. (Story here.)
Most of the commenters below the article make snarky responses to it, and insist they won't pay, or that it's not worth it.
It's true that there is a gamble to going paid online, and while you will lose your national news traffic seekers to Yahoo and AOL, I think there will always be some number of people who will pay for local news available nowhere else.
The tricky part is figuring out what that number is, and what they'll actually pay.
P.S. I apologize for any confusion this post caused. We at The Observer are not talking about charging for online. This is just a trend that's been debated for years now that I've been following, and I just posted the latest argument in favor of it. I'm still pretty divided on the issue, myself, and of course, The Observer isn't facing this huge decision because we don't put our exclusive print stuff online. We link to others, both local and national. That's pretty much it, except for our online calendar.
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Stan Mitchell is the founder and owner of The Oak Ridge Observer. He started the paper in 2004 with a $20,000 loan and writes generally on his blog about business practices, politics and local matters.