I had to chuckle this morning when I came across a story online at The Wall Street Journal. It was about the Chicago Tribune’s announcement that next Monday it will soon be offering a tabloid edition (with the same content as its home-delivered version) for newsstand sales

Earlier, I had seen the story, by Phil Rosenthal, on the Trib’s front page (since I am one of the dinosaurs who still gets the print edition delivered to my home). But I had yet to follow the jump inside, distracted as I was by the Obama bobblehead doll reference that also graced Page 1.

So I figured I’d see what the esteemed WSJ had to share about the development.

The Wall Street Journal piece built up a head of steam, captured my interest and then….asked me to fork over some money (“to continue reading, subscribe now”) if I wanted to continue reading the third paragraph, let alone the rest of the story.

I moved on, my credit card safely tucked in my wallet. That moment underscored the tension that newspapers are waging in terms of traditional vs. online content delivery. I didn’t want to subscribe to the Journal—I simply wanted to finish reading the story.

In a world where access to information is so rampant, what is the worth of any given shred of news? If a single copy of the Trib is 75 cents, how much monetary value can be assigned to a John Kass column –a few pennies, a nickel, eight cents? Some day, maybe they will devise a system that zeroes in with such laser-like fashion. For now, anyway, I’ll just flip back to the Trib’s print edition and pick up Rosenthal’s story where it left off.

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