Friday, August 31, 2007

KC Star Gets Over Itself

And about damned time, too.

Last spring the KC Star did away with their free KC Buzz Blog, deciding they were all that and a bag of chips, and we would pay $395 a year for access to the wit and wisdom of Dave Helling and Steve Kraske. You didn't even get a free pass if you were a subscriber to the paper! I only get the NY Times on Saturday and Sunday, but I get full access to Times Select with that partial subscription! Who the hell did they think they even were???

Needless to say, they were wrong. Wrong, wronger, wrongest. As wrong as that time Kissinger won a Peace Prize.

Their grand notion fell fell down at the starting blocks. For a while, some of us registered to access it with alternate email addresses, but that was a pain in the ass, checking defunct or single-use emails, and very soon we stopped doing that, too.

I never read anything there that was worth the hassle of logging in under a different name for fifteen minutes - yet they thought it was worth four bills? (I hope the person who had that brilliant idea was roundly mocked in a staff meeting, fired publicly, and ridiculed by co-workers as they cleaned out their desk.)

The thing is, I am out of the habit of giving a damn what the KC Star says, and so are a lot of other people. I have a partial-week subscription to the paper, but that is mostly to support McClatchy. Honestly, many days the paper goes across the street to a school and doesn't even come upstairs. I read the stories worth reading on the McClatchy website the night before anyway. I don't know about you, but I prefer to get my news before the full Kraske is applied, should the national stories make the MOGOP look bad. The way the Star stepped on the fine reporting of Greg Gordon on the DoJ scandal is it's own scandal, and that was when I stopped opening the hard-copy. I find that my day is always, without fail, better in every way, when I just totally avoid the wankery of Thom McClanahan.

Well, apparently they have awakened from their stupor. The grandiose notion that they were indispensable to the political lives of the people in the region was recognized as the idiotic idea it really was, and they are freeing the Buzz.

Today I got the following email:


What’s that buzzing?

You asked for it; we listened. Starting Tuesday afternoon, Prime Buzz is free!

When we say free, we mean all of Prime Buzz, The Kansas City Star’s political blog that formerly was subscription-only. Access to local and regional political coverage, FREE. Political commentary and municipal agenda previews, FREE. And we’re continuing to offer, FREE, the weekday e-mailed Prime Buzz summary — one of many enhancements over The Star’s former free political blog, the KC Buzz Blog.

“We built the best political Web site in the Midwest, and we appreciate those who recognized the value of Prime Buzz by subscribing to it, signing up for a free trial or otherwise figuring out a way to access it,” said Mark Zieman, The Star’s editor.

“But covering our democratic process is at the core of what we do. Coming into an election year, we decided to trade the extra subscription revenue for a chance to bring that important content to a much greater audience.”

To join the conversation, go to starting Tuesday afternoon and click Prime Buzz. You won’t need a username to read content. But if you want to comment and receive the Prime Buzz summary, you’ll need to register and supply a valid e-mail address. That’s also necessary for former Prime Buzz users.

Those who purchased a Prime Buzz subscription will be able to receive a partial refund, prorated to reflect the unused portion of the subscription. An e-mail to each subscriber supplied details.

Because some site changes are needed, Prime Buzz will be shut down Monday, Sept. 3, and Tuesday morning, Sept. 4.

Grab a front-row seat in an election cycle that’s already running hot. Find it fast, get it first — Prime Buzz.

I pass this along as a public service announcement to those who might care. As for me, I'm not sure I do. I mean, I'll probably get around to popping in and reading now and then, but everything I read will be through the memory of these people wanting me to take them seriously, but I don't know if I can, after they were so very, very full of themselves that they tried to charge $395 a year for the privilege of reading their blog!

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