Social Commentary

Goodbye Washington Post

Today I first ran into the Washington Post’s new paywall, which, while poorly explained seems to track me and want to charge me a subscription fee for the Washington Post. I deleted the Washington Post from my media bookmarks as “go to” reading, and will stop linking to its articles when I post to Twitter of Facebook.

Let me explain why. It isn’t that I don’t feel, in principle the Post’s coverage is worth paying for. At the same time, I want the Post to be a success. It only matters if it’s a success. And paying for it when I can get the same coverage from a dozen different sources…especially paying for it’s “Opinion” coverage is an act of mercy and loyalty, not an intelligent act.

Yes I know other newspapers have embraced this model. But MSNBC doesn’t. CNN doesn’t. The BBC doesn’t. The world news leaders don’t. That leaves the Post essentially trying to put forward either one of two arguments. The New York Times does. Great! Way to define yourself as last century’s press.

a) It has specialized news content that the others don’t, something like “Financial Times.” I find this difficult to believe. The Post has some excellent writers, certainly. But why is it more insightful about Washington than other free content providers. What specialized content does WaPo present that a dozen other sources don’t also. Free. Washington Insider talk? Politico and a dozen blogs. International Politics? The Economist, BBC. Washington area information. Washingtonian.

b) It admittedly can’t compete with other free content providers but for some reason I should prop it up anyway like a beloved friend’s YouTube Channel. That’s depressing and hopefully not the case.

I hoped new ownership would help WaPo. I could see it as the platform basis for something the US lacks. A world-dominating platform that seriously competes with CNN, MSNBC, or BBC. Not to burrow back into the 1990s in search of a payer model that failed years ago, thus insuring that its content is never routinely accessible.

Post…I’m not going to post links to Twitter, Facebook, Reddit that people can’t get to. (I make occasional exceptions for academic content…good luck with that). You live or die by your social media. Please don’t go the route of making the Washington Post another insular, irrelevant news source to get a few pennies from readers.

I love the Post. And this is tough love. Goodbye and Goodnight.


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