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Newsday says it’ll soon start charging for content on its website, “making news gathering capabilities a service to our customers.”

Sounds like the kind of scheme that would be cooked up by a newspaper that’s owned by a cable company.

Cablevision, Newsday’s parent, is used to charging for everything — just like all cable companies are. They charge for various movie channels, premium channels, pay per view movies, you name it. But here’s a scoop that’s apparently escaped Cablevision — news isn’t a commodity anymore. Few people pay for information, unless it’s of such a specialized nature (think ESPN insiders)¬† that you can’t get it anywhere else.

Cablevision  is also ignoring recent history. Newspapers once tried to charge for web information, but found they could make more money providing content online free and selling ads around that content. Now that the industry is in a tough spot, newspapers are looking for every way (as they should) to increase revenue.

But this isn’t it. Here’s one unanswered question: Why would anyone pay for one bit of information from Newsday when they can get information, free, from a number of different sources in the New York area?

I love reading Newsday online. Until they start charging. At that point, I’ll be happy to spend more time with the New York Daily News and New York Times.

You read it all the time. Newspapers are dead. For all of those that wish that were true, here’s the real bulletin:

We’re not.

Yes, we’re changing. Yes, we’re adapting. Yes, we’re going through a tough time.

But dead? Please. give me some of what you’re smoking.

Newspapers are going through the same cycle that most American business go through. The railrods went through a period in which many thought they would die. They figured out how to survive. Remember the airlines in the 1970s? There was a great shakeout, but airlines are still here.

That’s what happening in the newspaper industry today. We’re shaking out. But we will survive. How? I’ll blog about that soon. Y0u’ll find that my blog posts are short and to the point. If anyone ever reads them, they’ll be able to get in and out real fast.

It’s not about the Internet, folks. It’s about our digital future.

The Internet is so, I don’t know, 2005. The internet is exactly that — the thing you get on your laptop. But digital is far more expansive and includes mobile and e-readers, the advanced but untested technology that could hold the key to media’s survival. So don’t preach internet in your shop; preach digital media. That’s a better description of what we do. It also puts our businesses in the right mindset — we’re a digital business that sells related products. We just don’t sell print. We just don’t sell online. We sell multimedia to a digital audience that hungers to consume the information we produce.

That’s a much better way to define what we do and how we help lead our organizations.