I’ve been aggregating news here on 4boca.com by automatic, manual and now pseudo-automatic technology. Visitors have noted how some links point to sites that are paywalled, like the Sun-Sentinel and Palm Beach Post. It’s annoying to be linked to a story that you can’t read. I understand. I get annoyed by this too. I’m making an intentional effort to avoid doing this moving forward.
Linking to Stories That Can Be Read
It’s a disappointing experience to see a news story you’re interested in only to click on the story and discover that you can’t read it. Sun-Sentinel frequently shares articles on Facebook but if you click on more than three stories they tell you that a subscription is required. That’s a frustrating experience. I recently discovered Palm Beach Post is doing this too.
Paywalling is when an online publication requires a paid subscription of some sort in order to access the content. Sites that have paywalls, or restrictions on what can be read from the site, are typically sites belonging to newspapers. Newspapers are traditionally used to asking their audience for money to access their content. Broadcasters, unlike newspaper publishers, didn’t sell physical objects, like papers or magazines, so instead their business model has been purely around advertising. Although today’s “broadcasters” employ paywall-like techniques for movies (i.e. HBO and Showtime) that require subscriptions their news products still get their above-the-table funding from advertising (CNN, MSNBC, FOX and other cable channels). The websites of these cable news channels and the website of national news networks show complete stories and do not employ paywall models for visitors to access complete content.
Who Doesn’t Paywall?
Local news channels also produce web articles concurrent with the stories they broadcast. These sites do not use paywalls. WSVN, WPTV, WPBF and WLRN are among the Broadcasting channels that produce web content free from paywall restrictions. This is because their advertisers, or sponsors, are the sole source of revenue.
BocaWatch, which I am the Editor of, and BocaVoice are two websites that produce local news articles and do not leverage paywall restrictions. Sites like these, and the sites of local news broadcasters, are preferred link source for the homepage of 4boca.com. They provide a better experience for you, the audience because you can actually read the story being highlighted as opposed to being kept from the story by a paywall.
The Quality Wheat Separated From Tempting Chaff
So moving forward I’m separating out the sites that have paywalls from the sites that don’t. I’ll take the stories from sites that don’t have paywalls first. I won’t ignore paywalled sites altogether, and I’ll still share links from them (because most people only read the headlines anyway) but I’ll use less annoying sources first.