Another Site, Another Paywall

A funny pattern that’s emerging in the online world shows up every once in a while when a site throws up a paywall and, at the same time, manages to throw rational people and Internet trolls alike into fits over having to pay for content they previously accessed for free.

In the case of The Boston Globe, which yesterday rolled out its paywall announcement along with a cutting-edge redesign and explanation for the diverging paths of and, columnists and bloggers have been quick to point out everything from the move’s merits, what it could mean for print, and how its design is downright sexy. Basically, all positive stuff, and rightfully so. The response has probably been even more positive since daddy paper NYT paved the way in March.

The Globe, obviously, took the time to herald its own move, too:

By remaining proudly and steadfastly independent of all political parties and private agendas, and speaking only for its readers, journalism stands tall as a check on unmitigated power, and as a truly reliable source of news. will be propelled by that strength as it carries Boston journalism into a new era.

So, everyone is loving it, except, in some cases, the people who have to pay for it. When paywalls go up, comment threads around the Internet also pile up with people coming down on all sides, with the dissenting opinions among the most vocal. Yes, it is starting to become a pretty expensive habit or necessity — depending on how you view it — to keep up with what have been traditionally regarded as the go-to sources of local, national, and global news. (Just take a moment to survey what you’re paying for your daily, weekly, and monthly subscriptions, plus apps, plus access to online and TV. Don’t even think about hardware. Yep. It scares me, too.)

But now is the time that consumers of news, media, and information are starting to have to choose which content they access not necessarily by what they want, but instead by what they can afford. Love and live by the Globe? With a few exceptions, that means it’s time to open up your wallet and shell out, just like you would do by sliding a couple of quarters into the newspaper box.