Paywalls Proven Success?

Just an update about paywalls…

Publishing companies like Gannett Co, owner of USA Today and The New York Times Co., owner of – well obviously, The New York Times, are noticing that consumers are actually willing to pay for online subscriptions.

When the originally idea of paywalls came up, most papers were against it in fear that it would keep readers away from the online sites, but it actually did the opposite.

So what’s the outcome now?

Well according to this article, Gannett had 46,000 online subscriptions at the end of 2012, two-thirds of which were new readers. The Times Co last year generated more revenue from circulation than advertising mainly because it “led the way” charging for online access.

Now that papers are testing out paywalls and noticing the success, expect more papers to join the bandwagon and start charging. Hopefully the idea of giving readers a chance to read a few articles for free will still apply to the rest of papers who are preparing to join this trend.

 

Hard Work + New Trend in Journalism = One Big Grant

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Nothing is ever impossible!

The Texas Tribune, a four year old start-up based in Austin was fortunate enough to receive a grant of $1.5 million from the Knight Foundation as part of a form of acknowledgement and encouragement.

The Tribune is said to be a part of a new trend in journalism that uses an all-digital platform leaning towards nonprofit journalism. According to an article on Forbes, the grant was given to acknowledge the Tribune’s model for funding its news organization’s work and to encourage other news innovators to learn from its model.

Before the Knights contribution, the company raised $18.4 million to date, even exceeding its budget in every year. This year it is expecting to take in more than $4.8 million against the $4.2 million in costs.

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I totally agree with the Knights decision to give the company that amount of money.

To me it shows more encouragement than acknowledgement. As someone who hopes to start her own online new organization, this grant gave me even more encouragement to start my own. I have a strong mindset to create something similar to this.

When I read the article, I loved that the Tribune was able to support itself and its work in journalism at a large scale. It was like an instant feel of happiness fell onto me. I saw a light of hope today. It may actually be possible to run a successful news organization as a start up, in a society where big media potentially rules.

In terms of acknowledgement, the Knights grant really made a bigger name for the news organization in terms of publicity. In one of my journalism classes, we spoke about the large grant and checked out the website to see what it was about. It just seems like a lot of people are talking about the company, what its purpose and mission is, and its model.

Overall this really showed me that good journalism from a small site can really deliver to one of the largest states, both mass and population size.

Fox Reporter May Be Jailed for Being a TRUE Journalist?

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Fox News reporter Jana Winter may receive jail time for choosing not to reveal her source who told her that James Holmes (the Aurora movie theater shooter) mailed a violent notebook before the shooting. She reported exclusively about the journal Holmes sent to his psychiatrist including some of the details inside the book.

If the journal is admitted into the case as evidence, the court will ask Winter’s to give up her source. If she refuses to, which seems like she will, she will face jail time.

Why? Because Holmes’s lawyers want her to disclose her sources because they believe her sources may have violated gag orders. But once again, why is it relevant? Because Holmes’s lawyers feel that this shows the credibility of the law enforcement officers who went under oath and said they did not leak the information. But Fox News and Winter’s lawyers are arguing that she does not have to reveal her source under the First Amendment and Colorado’s “shield law,” which protects reporters against this type of thing.

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The real problem here is the chance reporters have to gather news freely that is in the public interest. It seems like there is no freedom in that. I feel that Winter’s is doing the right thing, especially if there is such a “shield law” to protect her.

As journalists, it is important to find a source and once you do, it is important to gain the trust and protect the source. Most journalist, in my opinion take a lot of time to think about what exactly they are publishing when it comes to sources. A source can potentially make or break a story.

Think of the Watergate Scandal. A simple article by two reporters and their main source led to the resignation of a president.

Sources are very much important to a story, but a source must trust the reporter. I feel that Winter’s is paving the way for future journalist alike. She is showing how important journalist can be in terms of informing the public and teaching others how trustworthy a journalist can be.

A multimillionaire with a job at Yahoo!, all at 17 years old…

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When I was 15, I was still adjusting to my new life in high school in New Jersey, but when Nick D’Aloisio was 15, he created Summly.

Summly is a news-reading app that summarizes news stories. It’s kind of cool, because no matter how simple or complex a story is, it is condensed to a mere 400 characters, which makes it easier to read on smartphones. Last week, Yahoo! bought Summly from D’Aloisio for a reported $30 million and offered him a job at Yahoo!’s London office.

So once again, the world is being introduced to a kid genius or prodigy, who has developed something that seems so simple and turned it into a multimillion dollar company. He has had a lot of support for his app too. He is the youngest person to receive venture capital money for work.

The idea started with Trimit, after some criticism, he corrected it and redesigned it as Summly with the help of venture capital funding of $300,000. His idea of developing the app was for people in line for coffee to read or for the people who wanted to kill time in between games.

There’s nothing much I can say to this but that he’s in a way an “inspiration” for children/young adults everywhere, who has an idea. He shows that anything is possible when you have a great idea and can find someone to fund the project.

I think more importantly he gives hope for entrepreneurs everywhere. If a 15 year old can convince a venture capital to fund his idea, why can’t I? Or the next guy?

The Paywall Effect In Britain?

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THE CATS OUT THE BAG!!

Newspapers in the U.S. have been slowly transitioning into the paywall phase.

What’s a paywall you may ask?

A paywall is a system that prevents Internet users from accessing webpage content without a paid subscription. It is slowly becoming a popular tool for papers in the U.S. and Canada but is now branching out to Britain.

The Daily Telegraph is the first British general interest newspaper to employ the paywall model. Similar to The New York Times, readers will be allowed to read 20 articles a month on the website for free. Once the reader passes the limit, the paywall will enact and block the reader from reading anymore articles for the rest of the month. If the reader choices to subscribe on his/her own, that reader will have two digital subscription packages to choose from. But unlike The Times, The Telegraph will offer a one month free trial before asking potential subscribers to commit to a subscription.

Hope The Telegraph’s paywall is as a success as others.

Another Newspaper Bought By Another Rich Guy

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In this day and age, it is no surprise that another rich guy is buying out a family-owned community paper.

It was announced a few days ago that John Georges will be acquiring The Advocate, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana based newspaper.

Now this can go two ways and can either be a good thing or a bad thing. From what I’ve read, the newspaper has been doing quite well over the years and is the leading daily newspaper of the south-east Louisiana area, which also includes the greater New Orleans area.

Keeping in mind that the buyer already owns food services and a restaurant in New Orleans, makes me wonder, why on earth is he buying out a newspaper? I understand that it is doing surprisingly well when compared to other dailies in other cities, that have either died out or turned into weeklies.

But The Advocate is very established! It has the Monday-Friday Advocate; the weekend editions, Saturday and Sunday Advocate; a New Orleans edition; and a Monday-Saturday edition for the Lafayette and Acadiana areas. I like to call this a newspaper whose audience has not drifted away into the hype of the new internet phase.

So back to my original question…

Why buy a newspaper, when it seems obvious that you have no experience in running a paper? I personally think that he is buying it because of its popularity and the return investment will be golden for him.

However, I do kind of feel sorry for the paper in general. As I said before, it can go down two ways.

Way one: He can buy the paper and turn it into a public relations haven, like others have done. It could turn into a paper that is filled with more advertisements than stories. It can become a paper filled with feature stories rather than hard news stories or stories affecting the area. For all I know, he can turn the paper into a magazine.

Way two: He can turn the paper around for the better. He can do a 360 and be an owner who actually cares about the paper and not primary about the money. He could potentially expand the paper to other areas, which will increase the need of journalists in terms of jobs. He could even go as far as expanding the paper to the point where The Advocate might look for other mediums to acquire like a radio station. Who knows?

All we can do is hope that it is for the better and never for the worse.