Friday, November 01, 2013

News from the Pay-Wall

I check out the news every morning, early. It's for my own interest and, also, it's to find a few stories and write them up, either for The Entertainer Online, which has a mix of news, comment and snark which is usually locally-based around and for Mojácar, or for a weekly subscription news-letter I prepare called Business over Tapas. So, not much news about Spain gets past me.
News is news. While opinion might belong to its author, something that is happening or has happened is in the Common Arena, it is open to anyone who wants to report it, repeat it, pass it on. However, some of the better known news sites, anxious about revenue, are taking to closing down their reports behind a pay-wall. So, the General Public will either cough up, or more likely, it won't use or consult their versions. El Mundo has Orbyt, a service that you must pay for, although it is clear that readers are skeptical, with the newspaper obliged to make ever-more generous offers of free gifts to subscribers. Much of El Mundo remains 'open', but some stories will suddenly peter out and a notice will come up: 'Wanna read this article? Then join up!'
Worse though are some of the British papers. I only read them for their news (or opinion) about Spain, coloured from a British establishment point of view. What does The Thunderer ('the Times of London') think about Spain, its economy, its leaders and its demolitions? We will never know, it has a pay-wall. Similarly, the Telegraph has hidden its charms behind a tin cup. So, for British news about Spain (and opinion), I go to the Spanish page of The Guardian.
There are some good sites in English about Spain, El País in English being an obvious one, and several useful blogs and independent webpages. When it comes to news about this splendid but tragic country, the local English-language free newspapers (with the notable exception of The Olive Press), unfortunately, rarely deliver.
So much of what I read is nearer to the source: it's the Spanish press,  blogs, news and compendia sites.
But for the average foreign resident in Spain, despite the new technologies available, there is the danger of becoming less informed. For the authorities, only the cosseted views of the domestic press will be consulted.


Mark Beasley said...

Hi Lenox. I enjoyed the irony of your piece being followed by an ad for the subscription-only Business Over Tapas service!

Richard Cross said...

if you use Google chrome and open articles in an "incognito"window you can often work around the pay-wall