Online Ads Are No Longer Paying The Bills For Journalism. So What Do We Now? | Connecticut Public Radio

Online Ads Are No Longer Paying The Bills For Journalism. So What Do We Now?

Dec 7, 2018

Today, it’s more common to go online for news than subscribe to a physical newspaper, but with so much content freely available on the web, how are news outlets staying afloat? This hour we talk about how the digital landscape is impacting journalism.

Are you frustrated by intrusive pop-ups and moving video banner ads that appear in the news articles you read? We learn why digital ads have become so obnoxious--so much so that more than 1 in 4 American internet users today use “ad-blocker” technology.

And we talk with veteran Connecticut journalists about strategies news outlets are using to adapt and survive in the digital landscape. If the current ad-filled model is not working, what should we look to instead?

Where do you go for news--and are you willing to pay for it?

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Lucia Moses - Deputy editor covering media, advertising, and telecom for Business Insider (@lmoses)
  • Maureen Croteau - Head of the UConn journalism department. She has been a director at The Day in New London for the past 25 years, and was a reporter and editor at the Hartford Times, Hartford Courant, and Providence Journal over the course of her career
  • Paul Bass - Founder and editor of the New Haven Independent (@PaulJBass)


The Atlantic: “The Internet's Original Sin: It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web” (August 2014) - “I have come to believe that advertising is the original sin of the web. The fallen state of our Internet is a direct, if unintentional, consequence of choosing advertising as the default model to support online content and services. Through successive rounds of innovation and investor storytime, we’ve trained Internet users to expect that everything they say and do online will be aggregated into profiles (which they cannot review, challenge, or change) that shape both what ads and what content they see.”

Citylab: Why Local Newspaper Websites are so Horrible (April 2018) - “We live in an age when even the lowliest of bagel shops can field a clean, elegant, and fairly slick-looking online storefront. Digital publishing has changed enormously since the advent of online news in the mid-1990s, as the initial iterations of news sites have given way to far more advanced offspring. So why has the online face many newspapers show the world grown uglier even as the need for advertising dollars from the web has grown more urgent?”

Nieman Lab:So some people will pay for a subscription to a news site. How about two? Three?” (November 2018) - “How many paywalls will people really pay to click past? It’s worked for The New York Times; it’s worked for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. But does it work for local newspapers? Metro dailies? Weekly or monthly magazines? Digital native sites?”

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.