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The Media

Print Subscribers Cry Foul Over WP's Online-Only Story 96

Hugh Pickens writes "The decision by the Washington Post to publish an article exclusively online has angered many readers who still pay for the print edition of the newspaper and highlighted the thorny issues newspaper editors still face in serving both print and online audiences. The 7,000 word story about the slaying in 2006 of Robert Wone, a young lawyer who was found stabbed to death in a luxurious townhouse in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington where a 'polyamorous family' of three men lived, is the sort of long-form reporting that newspaper editors say still justifies print in the digital age and many editors agree that print is still the place to publish deep investigative reporting, in part to give certain readers a reason to keep paying for news. 'If you're doing long form, you should do it in print,' said newspaper consultant Mark Potts. 'This just felt like a nice two-part series that they didn't have the room to put in the paper, so they just threw it on the Web.' Editors at The Post say they considered publishing the article in print, but they concluded it was too long at a time when the paper, like most others, was in dire financial straits and trying to scale back newsprint costs. 'Newspapers are going broke in part because news can be read, free of charge, on the Internet,' wrote one reader in a letter to the editor. 'As a nearly lifelong reader of The Post, I could not read this article in the paper I pay for and subscribe to; instead I came on it accidentally while scrolling online for business reasons.'"

One picture is worth 128K words.