The Herald sees 2.4 million page views a month, that’s down from 3.9 million before the pay wall, yet the paper’s staff remains optimistic.

via Is Vt. newspaper pay wall paying off? – WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-.

Down one and a half million page views and still remaining optimistic? Hoo boy.

Here’s another quote from the WCAX piece that I find interesting:

“No, no I don’t, I’m very worried,” said Bob Gershon, the communications chair at Castleton State College.

Gershon says he doesn’t see how the newspaper industry can make enough money to stay afloat on subscription alone.

“The single field of communication that seems the most threatened is news as we have come to envision it,” Gershon said.

Two things…

First, Mr. Gershon is worried because they won’t make enough money from subscriptions alone. Since when has any paper survived on subscriptions alone? It’s the ad revenue that pays for the paper to exist and it’s foolish to think otherwise. When the Herald cuts out 1.5 million page views at their online site because of the pay wall the advertisers will scratch their heads and wonder if their ad dollars are being well spent.

Second, in the last statement Mr. Gershon seems to me to be implying that we won’t be able to trust the news on the internet. The implication is that the way we have found our news to date (via newspaper and television)  has been through a reliable and trustworthy source. But lo! We must be wary of that internet “thing” because you won’t be able to trust your news source any more. Does the fact that the internet news has yielded a more balanced (read: center-right) position on the topic du jour have anything to do with his assessment? Or that he’s a communications professor?

If what I pick up on is an accurate reflection of Mr. Gershon’s statement, then I would disagree. I think people will adjust to the newest means of aggregating their news and they will quickly weed out the reliable reporting from the fringe reporting (of both sides).

Unfortunately, when talking about Fox News as a “right-wing” organization not fit for producing balanced news reporting, those folks are usually talking about the commentary programs (Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly, etc.). Yes, those are influential programs and they lean to the right, but they aren’t news programs in the more strict understanding of the word. And I suspect that most consumers would understand the difference between the news and commentary on the news. Hence, our intrepid news-seeking internet users would like be able to determine for himself whether he is reading a news report or a commentary on the news.