Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Peeking Past Paywalls

I'm not rich.   There I've said it.  Like most people my age I have to be a bit frugal.  Extravagance is for those on the way up.

And so I have to bid a temporary adieu to the Toronto Star after discovering I have used up my quota of 10-free stories a month.  I don't begrudge them their paywall.  In fact I think paywalls are necessary to sustain quality journalism, an argument made convincingly in last month's Harper's magazine.

I already subscribe to a newspaper, the Victoria Times Colonist, and I enjoy finding it waiting for me at my front door every morning save Monday.  As far as online newspapers go, there's only one I would pay for and that's The Guardian.  It's my "go to" newspaper and I wouldn't do without it.

I wanted to check out the latest on Rob Ford this morning, just gawking.  That's when I found out I have to go away for a week or two until the "reset button" let's me back in.  No problem, there were plenty of free sources of the real skinny on the real fatty to be had. 

The thing with paywall news websites is that you come to realize just what most of them are really worth to you.  To me, Torstar simply isn't worth the price of admission.  If I lived in Toronto or anywhere in Ontario for that matter it might be a different story but I don't even live on the same continental landmass as Toronto.

So I'll gratefully accept the ten free stories they'll allow me a month.  It will mean just a very little bit of effort to find the stories I want elsewhere.  At the same time I hope you Ontarians will subscribe to Torstar.  It's just about our only hope of holding back the barbarians of the corporate media cartel.  If you want genuine, valuable information you have to be willing to pay for it.  If you want free, you have to accept that you won't be getting information, you will be fed messaging packaged as information.   That's how corporate media works and you are their lawful prey.


Dana said...

On the subject of paying for the Star I agree but if there is a story you really, really want to see there is a very easy way to do it. The G&M and the Postmedia papers can go pound sand.

Right click on the story and open it in a private window (firefox) or incognito window (chrome).

Anonymous said...

Use NoScript with forefox. The paywalls are laughably easy to bypass if you disable javascript.

The Mound of Sound said...

Actually I believe paywalls may be necessary to support quality journalism and commentary. You wouldn't work for free so why should you expect them to do that?

As I said the freebie stuff becomes messaging in lieu of information. You have to decide if that's what you want your society to accept.

Al Hunter said...

With all the other available media, 10 free per month from Star is fine - I have yet to go past that limit.

Purple library guy said...

One thing about paywalls is, each individual one may make sense, but collectively . . . there are a lot of websites out there. If I start paying for like 20 paywalled sites I could bankrupt myself.

CuJoYYC said...

In Safari on a Mac, I simply hit command + i when the article is opening. It sends it to a new mail document where you can choose PDF, Web Page, Reader mode, or URL link. Works with all the paywalls I've come across so far. I choose PDF so that I can edit it and remove all the ads and assorted crap so I can save and/or share the attributed article.

UU4077 said...

I find that clearing my browser cache resets the number of articles I can read at The Star and Sun websites.