About two months ago, the owner of the local daily newspaper the Dickinson Press announced that they would no longer be publishing a printed newspaper. This was supposed to save money, follow the trend of other newspapers, and allow the newspaper to be updated throughout the day.
I liked looking at a printed newspaper or watching news on television from time to time, but I personally got most of my daily local and national news from the internet. I enjoyed reading Dickinson Press newspaper articles online, especially articles that were days or weeks old, that I never would have seen if these articles were published one time only in a printed newspaper.
Over the past two months, a small complaint that I have, which I saw right away was going to be the case, is that the Dickinson Press newspaper online is not really a full, new, newspaper each day. Every day now, it seems like 60% of the newspaper content is old, existing articles that have already appeared over and over again many times.
It appears that not only did the owners of the Dickinson Press newspaper seek to cut costs by not printing the newspaper on paper anymore, but they have also cut back on the reporting staff and the amount of articles. In my opinion, the owners of the Dickinson Press have cheapened the newspaper and reduced the quality by having fewer new articles each day.
My bigger complaint is that the Dickinson Press owners are now trying to force everyone to pay to read the Dickinson Press online. I am not going to pay for the Dickinson Press online for several reasons.
In a way, the internet is like broadcast radio and television used to be. You used to listen to the radio and watch television for free. On the internet, you can look up, read, watch, and listen to most things for free. Just some examples, on the internet you can read newspaper articles, magazine articles, look up facts on Wikipedia, use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for free.
The reason why people, organizations, and businesses uploaded content, information, news, articles, music, and videos to the internet, was because it was desirable, advantageous, or profitable to get this content in front of potentially billions of users. Advertising revenue was part of it.
Now that the owners of the Dickinson Press are trying to force people to pay to read Dickinson Press newspaper articles online, to me, this suggests two things: One, the owners of the Dickinson Press want to receive money from both advertisers and viewers; Two, the Dickinson Press newspaper online content is not drawing enough viewers to have sufficient advertising revenue to be profitable.
At this point, being asked to pay to read the Dickinson Press newspaper online, is like being asked to pay to watch the evening news from the local television stations in Bismarck or Fargo. These local television stations can report local news without having to charge viewers.
Now that the Dickinson Press newspaper is going to be an online newspaper, I feel like they are the same as a television or radio station. If television and radio stations can produce news and entertainment programming and generate enough revenue through advertising, why can’t the Dickinson Press?
I think that western North Dakota needs its own medium-sized, locally owned, printed paper newspaper. If this newspaper focused on news from Bowman, Hettinger, New England, Medora, Belfield, Dickinson, Taylor, Killdeer, and Watford City, there would be enough news, happenings, and events to make it an interesting newspaper, so that it would have a large enough circulation and advertising revenue.
The residents in western North Dakota somewhat know each other and are involved in the same businesses, activities, events, politics, and issues. There would be an interest in reading wedding announcements, obituaries, business openings, business promotions, farming news, school news, school sporting events, rodeos, city commission meetings, police blotter, crime & court, local elections, accidents, disputes, events, hunting, outdoor activities, entertainment, interesting stories, and interesting people, that are not currently being covered by the Dickinson Press because they are of no interest to the people in Fargo, Grand Forks, and Bismarck on the eastern side of North Dakota.