Newspapers Shun Apple’s News Reader Service

Looks like most of America’s big newspapers are none too willing to help make Apple Computer any richer and are largely shunning the computer giant’s nascent news reader service.

Apple has started the news service that is being called the “Netflix for news.”

For a $10-a-month fee, Apple News Plus offers articles from more than 300 magazines. But it looks like newspapers aren’t interested. At its launch, Apple was only able to add three newspapers to the service.

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According to the Associated Press, newspapers don’t see Apple as their savior:

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“Is this the thing that’s going to save media? The answer is ‘no.’ It’s not one thing,” said Jim Brady, who built a local-news business, Spirited Media, and now consults with media companies.

Media companies have struggled to adapt to readers’ shift online and the surge of free articles the web made possible. Even prominent digital-media outlets have had layoffs or been sold off.

More people are getting news through technology platforms such as Facebook. Still, publishers want readers to care about news brands and pay for news and events. For that, they need more control over how they interact with readers. Many publishers want to build their own sites and customer base rather than be at the whim of giant technology companies.

“Publishers have been down this path before, with Facebook,” Tim Franklin, senior associate dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, told the AP.

Facebook was once seen as a major new outlet for the media, but last year the social media giant gutted publishers’ ability to get their news onto the platform.

Facebook especially destroyed the livelihoods of many conservative writers and publishers.

The three newspapers that joined Apple News Plus are the Los Angeles Times, the Toronto Star, and The Wall Street Journal. The participation of The Wall Street Journalsurprised many.

Still, the Journal will not offer all its content on the Apple service.

However, the paper widely seen as a “conservative” paper says that the Apple service will allow its work to be seen by people who may not otherwise see it.

Regardless, it appears that almost no other paper in the nation is very interested in adding content to Apple’s new service.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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