News: Paid content vs. ad revenue

The NY Times article this morning made me laugh.
People may prefer the online edition to the paper, but readership of newspaper news online sites lags way behind readership of news on Google, Yahoo and Matt Drudge–when it comes to traffic.
So is asking whether newspapers can recoup their losses by putting their online content into a paid sub model really the right question?
Folks, most news is a commodity.
As long as the source is credible, the public will read it.
And often they don’t have a clue when it isn’t.
For many of the bigger online newspapers, the game over the past 2 years has been to optimize for advertising, so pages are fully monetized.
Remember that recent conversations at the Times about paid content revolve around specific premium services–not charging for the whole edition, or else.
That just doesn’t work–
And–it limits ad revenue.
The challenge for online news sites–especially those who heavily rely on news feeds for content–is that they are playing a game they cannot win.
Classifieds are dispersing to Craigslist and others
Articles are dispersing to news aggregators.
Journalists are turning into bloggers, and vice versa.
The money they used to have in the margins of print doesn’t have a parallel online.
And their overhead is crushing.
Paid content is definitely a strategy to deploy–but, for some news sites, it may be a deck chair on the Titanic.