IraqSlogger to charge for content

This is unfortunate news. IraqSlogger, perhaps the best place to get information on Iraq, will soon be behind a $60 a month pay wall.

I check this site everyday, but I have been priced out. It is a shame.

UPDATE: I keep thinking about this and I have to wonder: who can afford $60 a month? The obvious answer: scholars, diplomats and journalists who specialize in Iraq or foreign affairs who receive operational funding from colleges or journalistic institutions. But certainly few common folks, or for that matter young journalists with no expense accounts (like me), can pony up $60 dollars a month. And while IraqSlogger says the money will pay for staff, and tipsters in Iraq, their staff is still tiny compared to many other journalistic outfits, and one can access the Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and so forth for free.

Moreover, IraqSlogger's most valuable feature is their daily overview of Iraqi papers. It is a great summary, but most of these papers have English language editions available for free online, and even those that don't can still be translated via Google.

Now, IraqSlogger is great for people that are interested in the specifics of the Iraq situation and they give more specifics than the Times and other outlets. But I would suggest bookmarking the Iraqi papers they reference: al- Arabiya, al-Hayet, and al-Quds al-Arabi (translated by Google), and also add Dahr Jamail's web site which is full of on-location hard news reports from Iraq and you will be able to get specifics on Iraq that go way deeper than the US press allows. Save the $60 dollars. Bloggers like Juan Cole also offer important links and updates regarding Iraq, that are likewise helpful.

IraqSlogger is a great one-stop location, but if this switch forces its readers to dig a little deeper into the Eastern press, it can only be a good thing. In the meantime, you may want to dig though the Slogger archives and consume what you can while it is still free.

Update II: IraqSlogger has evidently heard some unhappy rumblings and says the following in a new FAQ:

I cannot afford a subscription, but I love IraqSlogger and don't want to lose access to it. Please, can I have a free subscription?

Yes, in exceptional cases, we will provide a free subscription. Stay tuned for an announcement with details tomorrow.

It will be interesting to see what they have cooking. My guess, free subscriptions to the families of troops, and discounted ones for students. We'll see.