Donal Prime

After quite a few years of giving it away for free – it being content – internet sites are now demanding the financial security of marriage subscription fees. After years of watching you play the field, more and more sites want you to settle down and tie the knot with the mainstream media.

The Wall Street Journal has been hiding their most informative, well-reported articles behind a paywall, but lets anyone read their right-leaning OpEd pieces. The Baltimore Sun lets one read twenty articles per month for free, but it is hard to find a good article in the Sun with only twenty attempts. The New York Times also allows a small number of hits per month, but at least most of their articles are worth reading. I get emails with special offers from the NYT every week. I’d like to get the weekend paper subscription, which includes internet browsing, but they don’t deliver to my house in PA. I’m not poor, but the Great Recession still weighs on my mind, so I’ve held off from all sorts of long term obligations.

Last week Josh Marshall announced that Talking Points Memo was looking for eligible partners. Probably 80% of my online acquaintances derive from my years of posting and commenting at the TPM Cafe’. The Cafe’ was a stimulating place for liberals that felt ignored by the mainstream media’s fascination with conservatism. But the well-meaning people that essentially began socializing there were very attractive to the sort of trolls that feed off discord. Marshall eventually closed the Cafe’, and regulars left for Dagblog (already started by Cafe’ regulars) or a few new sites like Once Upon a TPM, which was renamed to Once Upon a Paradigm. Others started their own personal blogs.

Now Marshall has announced TPMPrime, which sounds a bit like the old Cafe’ and has clarified that the new membership section will cost about $50 per year. The idea of a site with good discussion and reasonable moderation is tempting, but again, the idea of another long term financial obligation is not.

So to defray costs I am announcing Donal Prime. Employees of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Baltimore Sun and Talking Points Memo are encouraged to contribute to the running of this blog. The rest of you can keep reading for free.

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19 responses to “Donal Prime”

  1. trkingmomoe says :

    I just wonder how many will actually pay to discuse current events. I would not even if I didn’t have to justify every dime I spend. I spent about 4 years reading the cafe before I ever even signed up to comment on TPM. I just stumbled on it while sitting up rocking grand babies at night. I was not the sophisticated deap thinker with a crying babe in my arms but I enjoyed thinking about the topics that was being presented. There is plenty still out here that is not behind a pay wall. Since the cafe closed I haven’t read TPM unless someone links it to their blog. I used to go to the library just to read papers from all over. All I needed was a library card. But online news papers created only for the internet that sit behind pay walls are not in reach for someone like me. My library card is not going to open that door.

    Doing a food blog had been a nice experience to write about something I know. The foodies are very nice and polite people. Not a troll anywhere. I am amazed at how many now read me here on wordpress. I should break 10,000 total reads around the first of the year. I started the begining of June. I just started posting on dag and maybe 5 regulars look at it and a handful of out siders. Richard kept asking me to post on dag so I finally did after I figured out how. Like I said I am not that sophisticated. Since my neighbor who has the internet connection is now letting me use it when I need it, I can do more. They are enjoying my baked goods that I share with them. I should say I am bartering to blog.

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    • Donal says :

      I’d be curious to hear if anyone is planning to sign up. I tend to think that Prime will be binding “to itself a joy,” while the Cafe was catching “joy as it flies.”

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      • trkingmomoe says :

        There was some discussion on dagblog about this. I was reading that some still had hard feelings for Josh M. Others are not willing or just don’t have the money to give it a try. I didn’t get to read Kos this weekend except for the Wrap. So I don’t know if there was any diaries on this over there or not. The comments on TPM are mostly coming from Face Book users. Maybe that is were all the interest is coming from.

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  2. Donal says :

    Reblogged this on Once Upon a Paradigm and commented:

    I thought this might be of general interest.

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  3. ~flowerchild~ says :

    I, for one, will not be taking advantage of TPM Prime. Even if I could afford the extra expense, it doesn’t seem worth it when there is no mention of a reader blog section being a part of it. After the reader blogs were shut down the whole Cafe seemed to go blooey. It lost its heartbeat and the guest bloggers on the left side of the page couldn’t hold interest.

    I’m disinclined to pay for opinions and in-depth articles when I can get them for free on other websites. Even the promise of interaction with the authors holds no appeal. They rarely interact now, what’s there to indicate that will change just because readers throw money at them? They’re suddenly going to have more time to mingle with the great unwashed? I don’t think so.

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    • Donal says :

      Well, I vaguely remember one thread where Bernard Avishai ticked off a lot of people by claiming something about rich vs poor. Maybe Avishai will find more believers under a pay-to-say format.

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      • ~flowerchild~ says :

        I remember that! I was one of the ticked off. Something about Bernie’s fancy auto being broke and the mechanic who fixed it ought to be grateful Bernie was giving him business.

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  4. cmaukonen says :

    I have no intention of joining a TPM anything. For the same reason I stay away from KOS. Not interested in being part of a pseudo leftist site that shills for the DINOs who continuously move further and further to the right.

    Following the republicans like a little lost puppy.

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    • Donal says :

      Artappraiser and a few others remember a lot more than I do in the TPM Steakhouse discussion, and also feel that TPM was very consciously as centrist as Obama himself, even if the commenters ranged from libertarian to maoist.

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  5. saywhatumean2say says :

    I am not a particularly deep thinker but enjoy reading some particularly deep thinkers. Since the Cafe closed down almost the moment I found it, I have not been back to TPM so of course I wouldn’t pay to read there, I didn’t much like some of the stuff I did read there on the “professional” side anyway.

    However I used to pay to recieve print, something I’ve also given up due to the economy and old age lack of interest, so if I someday re-engage I might consider paying for content on some sites but it does go against the grain a little.

    If Prime takes off and WE all sent you a penny maybe you could buy a cup of coffee Donal but thank you for inviting us for free! dru

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  6. Lis says :

    Once Upon a Paradigm is so free, I only moderate it in my pajamas 🙂

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  7. remoat says :

    You are proposing a subscription plan for your blog so that you can afford subscribing to another blog. Now that is what I call the spirit of free enterprise!

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  8. Donal says :

    Thanks to artappraiser for posting this on dagblog, and getting all those hits. I’m not sure how to let her post here without revealing that she is Wonder Woman, because I don’t want to allow anonymous drive-by trolling.

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