Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Tulsa Tuesday: The Tulsa World is no longer free

The Tulsa World took a bold business decision a few weeks ago and decided to begin charging people for the product they make. I’ll give you a second to get back on your chair…. see, apparently the business model of giving shit away for free on the internet while Google sells ads only works well for Google, and not a real newspaper.

Tulsa World subscribers will continue to receive full access to tulsaworld.com and other digital news products under a system that began April 4, 2011, and charge frequent website users who do not pay for a print subscription to the newspaper….

The concept being implemented on tulsaworld.com is called a metered system. The system will limit the amount of locally produced articles that a non-subscriber can view at no charge.

“With the changing landscape in our profession, we believe it is important to charge a fair price for access to the news and information that we produce,” said Robert E. Lorton III, publisher of the Tulsa World.

The strange thing is, the hair-brained scheme actually worked. Rather than reading for free online, I actually subscribed within a few days – because how in the hell could I write about Tulsa without the World doing the reporting for me? (I guess that I could actually go out and meet people and do stuff, rather than sit at home and watch TV, but this felt like the easier option)

For those of you who don’t know much The Tulsa World is 2nd in the state in total circulation. Honestly, this is embarrassing – even though OKC is a larger city – being second to the Oklahoman in anything should be cause for shame.

It’s like finishing in 2nd place in the sprint at the Special Olympics, when you’re there as a volunteer instead as a contestant. The only thing the World should be second to the Oklahoman is in the choice of which paper to line your birdcage with.

One of my favorite moments in the history of the Tulsa World was when they sued a local blogger for libel.

Bates, a conservative blowhard with a blog was writing a column in the local alt-weekly (kids, if you’re not familiar with an alt-weekly column, it’s the thing you flip past to peruse the prostitute ads in the back) said something not nice about the World and they sued him for libel. Quick aside – local blogger getting a column in an alt-weekly – what a sellout move!

The case, which is uninteresting & too detailed about newspaper circulation and ad rates to make a pithy line about, was eventually settled when Bates apologized and took everything back. The story even gained a bit of national attention when Jack Shafer from Slate went after the World for filing the suit.

In case you’re wondering what Bates has been up to since he cried uncle to the Lortons, he was last seen here claiming the Obama birth certificate has been doctored with on his oh-so-boring blog. So, that pretty much tells me what I need to know about him…

In the spirit of the lawsuit, here are 7 facts (of varying truthiness) about the Tulsa World:

  • The Tulsa World was originally the party newspaper for the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi’s) in Bremen, Germany.
  • The World’s first major publisher Eugene Lorton used to eat an entire turkey every day for lunch – raw.
  • Having a rolled up copy of the World tucked under your left arm let’s everyone at Mohawk Park know you’re cruisin’. (putting it under your right arm means you’re just there for decorating advice)
  • The World has a barely visible pentagram on its masthead.
  • Staff members of the Tulsa World have actually attended WNBA games and took time to form written opinions about said games.
  • The Lorton family tried to cover up the Chicken Hut story, protecting their minority ownership stake in the now closed fried chicken Mecca.
  • Osama bin Laden used to have the Tulsa World delivered to his suburban Pakistan mansion on Thursdays through Sundays.

Patrick, I’ve got my apology letter already drafted – just let me know when the World sues us.


  1. Perhaps the added funds can lead to editors or proofreaders who do their job, because their reporting is full of grammatical errors all the time. It’s like they use spell check then sign off on the job, not even re-reading before putting it out there for the world to see.

  2. Oh, and not to mention the reporting that refuses to list descriptions (ie-race) of people that are wanted for crimes, and reporting that leaves more questions than answers (ie- going to one of the TV news stations for the rest of the details).

  3. Makes me sad because I only read Tulsa World because they cover the crazy antics of Jim Inhofe. I guess the lost ogle has to step up their game, Either that or someone has to start a Jim Inhofe reality show.

  4. I noticed that the TW was doing this last week. I don’t know how it works to their favor though. Basically the TW just became totally irrelevant to me…

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