Yes, Virginia, we do need a paywall

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

Some of my little friends say there is no need for a paywall.

Papa says, ‘If you see it in BizWest, it’s so.’

Please tell me the truth; is there a need for a paywall?

VIRGINIA O’HANLON

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the false assumptions of the digital age. They believe that what they see online must be free. They think that news content springs out of the ether into their little minds, emerging magically from some digital Santa Claus bestowing gifts of information on website visitors. And, yes, Virginia, all minds are little — whether they be in Boulder or Fort Collins or Greeley — compared with the vast universe of business-news knowledge to be gained. They do not believe what should be obvious. They think that news can be generated without resources, that content provided online should be free because it has ever been so.

Yes, Virginia, there is need of a paywall. It exists as certainly as reporters require sustenance, as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist among the high-tech environs of Broomfield or the CBD companies of Longmont. You know it is true, Virginia! All minds require information, and those great minds intrigued by the entrepreneurial activities of Loveland or Louisville understand that information demands resources to generate, and will eagerly bestow their love, loyalty and $39.99 — or $49.99 for Print Plus — on the source of that information. Alas! How dreary would be the business world of the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado if there were no paywall! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no Breaking News alerts, no Morning Editions, no Afternoon Reports. There would be no childlike appreciation for reports of company layoffs, large real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, or corporate bankruptcies. No understanding of the nuances of lawsuits, public offerings or Form D filings. (And who could live without reports of the latest Form Ds?) There would be no poetry in our business lives, no romance to make tolerable our corporate existence. We would have no enjoyment, except as could be found in one-sided press releases filled with canned, boring statements, without context or challenge, without filter. The eternal light that fills the economy of our region would be forever extinguished.

No need for a paywall! You might as well secure all your news from fairies, Facebook, Twitter or a host of other non-news providers. You might get your papa to search the Internet for news that is reliable, but he will increasingly find that other outlets, too, have erected paywalls. That’s because Santa Claus does not write news articles, Virginia. Some of your little friends might complain when they click on an article, eager to read about the latest goings-on, only to find the content blurred. But the true blurring is in their own minds, Virginia. They cannot grasp that reporting news demands revenue. They counter that news publications should secure all of their revenue from advertising. But what about their own occupations, Virginia? Do they limit themselves or their establishments to only one source of revenue? Or do they perhaps have more than one income stream because that is essential for their own bottom line?

Ah, Virginia, in all this world, there is nothing as necessary, real and abiding as the paywall.

No need for a paywall! Thank God! It lives and it lives forever! A thousand days from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand days, it will continue to sustain our efforts and make glad the hearts of readers everywhere.

Christopher Wood is editor and publisher at BizWest. He is appreciative of the talents of Francis Pharcellus Church, late editor of the New York Sun, and believes that publication would still be around had it had a paywall. Reach Wood at cwood@bizwest.com.

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

Some of my little friends say there is no need for a paywall.

Papa says, ‘If you see it in BizWest, it’s so.’

Please tell me the truth; is there a need for a paywall?

VIRGINIA O’HANLON

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the false assumptions of the digital age. They believe that what they see online must be free. They think that news content springs out of the ether into their little minds, emerging magically from some digital Santa Claus bestowing gifts of information on website visitors. And, yes, Virginia, all minds are little — whether they be in Boulder or Fort Collins or Greeley — compared with the vast universe of business-news knowledge to be gained. They do not believe what should be obvious. They think that news can be generated without resources, that content provided online should be free because it has ever been so.

Yes, Virginia, there is need of a paywall. It exists as certainly as reporters require sustenance, as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist among the high-tech environs of Broomfield or the CBD companies of Longmont. You know it is true, Virginia! All minds require information, and those great minds intrigued by the entrepreneurial activities of Loveland or Louisville understand that information demands resources to generate, and will eagerly bestow their love, loyalty and $39.99 — or $49.99 for Print…