Today publisher Mark Heintzelman wrote a piece called One all-access subscription: New approach moves Missoulian into the future.
I read that and said, oh boy, here we go. Just tell me, Mark, just tell me how much more I have to pay and save me the spiel.
But there is no amount, and that tells me that when my subscription is up in January or February, then it’s going to be hell to pay. I think last year I paid $49 or something, for a full year, and this time around I’ll have to pay $12 a month. So that’s $144, or $95 more than I’m paying now, and for the exact same thing that I’m paying for now.
Well, it’s not the exact same thing, really. A year ago I didn’t have so many fucking ads glaring me in the face every time I logged on, or tried to click on some white space, or all the rest of it. If anything, the Missoulian is one hell of an advertising whore.
I would agree with that. When my subscription is up I suspect it'll cost me quite a bit more. And since I know I can get 10 free articles from all the state papers, I can just jot down a tally in a notebook and figure out which sites I need to use to get all my stories, and for free.
I'm sorry Lee is struggling, and I'm sorry a lot of reporters here in Missoula will eventually lose their job because of the changing industry and poor management. I use these stories several times a week to write stories on my own site, however, so it'll be a loss.
But what can you do? Already Ochenski is gone and what I consider breaking stories aren't reported on for days. This state used to have a rich media tradition, but I guess that's gone now. And what about next year when everyone has to pay for even basic TV? This is not a good trend. I guess we want people to be uniformed.
My advice to smart reporters would be to jettison this failing business model, get some Kickstarter campaign going, and band together to create an online-only model that has some real advertising muscle behind it. People want news, just not like we have now.
Probably because they’re in Montana and don’t have the money problems over their heads that Lee Newspapers and other shoddy organizations with bloated management and ineffectual bureaucracies have.
It reminds me a lot of General Wu Qi, and his quest to rid the State of Chu of it’s bloated bureaucracy, something that would make the state strong again. This was around 400 BC in ancient China, and you can read a fictionalized account of that in my book The State of Chu:
- Solid Waste: B-
- Transit: C+
- Transportation: C
- Irrigation: C
- Drinking Water: C-
- Dams: C-
- Wastewater: D-
- Schools: D-
I’ve been asking a lot lately why I came back to Montana from China. I should have went to another state, like my mom, a retired state worker, urged me to.
What is there for young people like me? What help do we have raising a kid? What good are the schools? Why live here?
I grew up here but gosh, there’s nothing here for me now. It’s really sad that Montana has fallen so hard, and that no one cares.