Another brick in the (pay) wall: Chicago news makes a play for pay

September 1, 2011

As you may have heard, the Daily Herald is charging for its web site. Starting soon, the Daily Herald will put up a paywall and charge users $19.99 a month to access their mostly suburban news content. If you have a subscription to the paper, it will cost you $4 more a month to access the site.

But the story here is not the erection of a paywall; the story is that the Daily Herald becomes the first paper to charge for the content. And they most certainly won't be the last. I would guess that this move will open the floodgates for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times to justify charging for their content as well. It's going to be 1992, all over again. You know, before computers gave you free access?

And when the newspapers put up a paywall and everyone stops reading news, where will people get their daily information? Suddenly, pledge drives aren't so dumb. We were just ahead of the times.

Honestly, would you pay $25 a month for access to the Chicago Tribune?  Now the question is: Will the big newspapers with new paywalls start charging less at the newsstand?

And, by the way, how is the Daily Herald move not on the front page of both Chicago newspapers? Is it possible they are burying the story because they know they are about to do the same thing?

B story: Oh yeah, Grandpa...tell me about how you used to ride the train for free? Remember? From 2007-2011? Today is the end of the free rides for seniors plan that Blagojevich put into place a couple years back. Do you remember how much of a hubub that created? He practically held up the budget process and prompted headline after headline just to secure rides for your parents/grandparents. And today, quietly, with no press conference, the free rides are up - once again bolstering Grandpa's favorite advice, "Nothing in life is free, boy."

C story: I like Mayor Emanuel's take on hotbed issues that carried over from the Daley administration. He said to a town hall last night when addressing heated questions about TIFs, "I can’t reverse the past,” the mayor added. “I have to shape the future. That’s why I created a new standard that we finally have." Oooooh, smooth.

D story: Quick rant about bikers: Dude. Don't ride on the sidewalk in the Loop. That's just stupid dangerous. Consider yourself lucky I didn't clothesline you when you barreled past the train station. 

E story: Wait, the Sun-Times put the story about the Playboy Club coming back to Chicago on the cover, but didn't do the same for the Hustler Hollywood Store, which is actually opening in Chicago next week? Soft core favoritism. The Hustler store is going into the old Reckless Records space on Broadway. Classic.

Weather: 95 degrees on September 1, 2011. I'll take it.

Sports: The Bears play their final preseason game tonight against the Cleveland Browns. Before Saturday, the Bears must cut their roster down to 53 players. This year, they aren't many surprises, but there are some open spots at the bottom of the roster. That means players who impressed but weren't in plans might have a shot to make the squad. So yes, tonight will be scrub fest.

And soon enough, one or two lucky scrubs will make the team, which pretty much means they get stand on the sidelines in street clothes during the regular season.  But who knows?  If the Bears suck, they just might put on some pads and mess up the Cover 2. Geez, so pessimistic today. And I got a good night's sleep too.

Also, I drafted my Fantasy Football team last night and got Cutler as my backup QB. Andrew Gill had the same thing in his draft. Wow, how the mighty have fallen. So hive mind tells us that Cutler is going to suck this year. Hive mind also has forgiven Michael Vick for killing dogs (he went in the 1st round).

Kicker: I just saw this on Reddit. Very simple. A white blood cell chasing bacteria. Fascinating. Roll credits.