EDITORIAL: To be free or not to be free -- news organizations have to decide

Monday, January 18, 2016

Many believe that news should be free of charge. And, why not?

Anyone with an internet connection can find out just about anything by clicking a few links here and there. Nearly all news organizations, television, print and radio, have websites, many of them are free access to all. Even those who limit views for non-paying customers -- The Brazil Times -- can have those protections circumvented.

Sadly, what many fail to recognize is that nothing in this world is free, even news. It takes at least a handful or two of people at a small news agency, such as The Brazil Times, to put out a product, thousands at much larger organizations. These people, like us, work for a paycheck and need at least a computer and internet connection to do their job -- and that's at the very basic level.

So how is it some "news organizations" can afford to just give their product away? They aren't. They rely on advertising dollars, which come from the businesses we all patronize. Prices at these businesses are based on the cost to do business, which includes advertising the product to the masses through a variety of media whose costs vary greatly.

Many people were upset when many newspapers started charging for their online content. But, newspapers realized fewer and fewer were picking up the physical edition of the paper and, instead, opting for the free online news.

At The Brazil Times, we still make all news that is a matter of public safety free on our website, such as police and fire alerts as well as missing persons, school emergencies/closings and other matters that needs to be disseminated to all.

Newspapers are continuing to reinvent themselves. For us, it's working harder to provide the content you can't get anywhere else as quickly as possible, all the while utilizing the most popular form of media -- the world wide web.

It's also about working with local businesses and organizations to help them advertise their events in print and online -- an effort that will hopefully lead to a profitable future for all involved.