by David Safier
What had become my go-to source for legislative info, the newly created online Arizona Guardian, has adopted the subscription model. A professional subscription costs $150 per month, a non-profit professional, $120 per month and an individual $30 per month.
It's now, unfortunately, my no-to source. I got myself a free login, but it didn't gain me access to any of the articles I tried to link to.
These folks are serious professionals with, I think, about 80 years of news experience between them, and they do a great job of getting the story behind the story. I wish them well. They view themselves as a news agency as opposed to an online newspaper, so I think they're hoping to get subscribers who will use their information like papers use, say, AP. But the online subscription model hasn't worked out so well for lots of others in the past.
If this model doesn't work, there's another promising idea coming down the line where the reader pays pennies per page view. It may just be the news profit model of the future.
If I see a teaser on the front page that interests me, I can link to the article for, say, a dime or a quarter. I'd be willing to do that and get a monthly readership bill on my credit card. Others who are occasional users might be willing to do that as well. If a website can get a large enough readership that it makes money by selling ads plus the pay-to-read revenue, that might work as well as or better than flat subscription rates.