Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press interim executive director Gregg Leslie sent along this note of thanks.
And thanks to Newspaper and Online News Division members for their membership dues, which we use to support such worthwhile causes as RCFP and the Student Press Law Center, which also received a $500 donation from the Division.
Head, Newspaper and Online News Division
March update on The New York Times progress on its plans to try to extract some income from online readers, originally planned for a January launch, eventually rescheduled to March 28.
The bottom line: The home delivery price still includes access to all digital versions. For the rest of us, NYTimes.com offers 20 free articles each calendar month as well as the Top News, home page, section fronts, blog fronts and classifieds. After that, the Times will want $15 every four weeks for unlimited access via Web and smartphone, $20 for tablets. (There’s promise of a “special introductory offer” on March 28, and some fine print about crosswords and e-reader editions.)
- Newsonomics of The New York Times Pay Fence — Ken Doctor, author of Newsonomics, comments at Nieman Lab on the Times good timing: bringing its pay model online during the successful launch of the iPad2 “and a growing sense of the Times’ outsized importance as media chaos multiplies.”
- The Times Announces Digital Subscription Plan — (Jeremy W. Peters, NYT Business Day / Media & Advertising) — The New York Times introduced a plan on Thursday to begin charging the most frequent users of its Web site $15 for a four-week subscription in a bet that readers will pay for news they are accustomed to getting free. (March 17, 2011)
- Times Letter to Readers — About digital subscriptions. (March 17, 2011)
- The Times’s Online Pay Model Was Years in the Makng — (Jeremy W. Peters, NYT Business Day / Media & Advertising) — The New York Times’s online pay model, which takes effect on March 28, may be the most watched experiment in American journalism. (March 21, 2011)
- Paying for The Times at SXSW — (NYT Mediadecoder Blog) The New York Times, my employer, had just announced that it was about to implement a metered model, charging its most frequent visitors… March 20, 2011)
- Business News You Didn’t Read Here — NYT Public Editor Arthur Brisbane on other media outlets’ coverage of the Times plans to introduce a pay model for some of its online news. (March 5, 2011)
Eagle-eyed Doug Fisher at South Carolina spied “a low-key announcement buried in the business briefs of my local (McClatchy) paper” announcing the coming of pay-per-view to Gannett’s Greenville News, one of three papers the chain is taking to pay-per-view on the Web. See his commentary.
Pay Walls Debut at Three Gannett Papers Testing ‘Journalism as a Service’ is the headline on Poynter Online’s NewsPay column by Bill Mitchell.
Included are The Tallahassee Democrat, The Greenville S.C. News and The St. George, Utah Spectrum.
Mitchell notes that Gannett called this "a small-scale test."
Gannett publishes 82 daily U.S. newspapers, including USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper, and more than 600 magazines and other non-dailies including USA WEEKEND. Gannett also operates 23 television stations in 19 U.S. markets.–Corp.HQ
At http://tallahassee.com, for an example of the pay system, the Web front page headlines and summaries are still visible, but clicking through to read a full local story results in a table of pay rates.
Original Tallahassee.com stories require one of several subscription plans or a $2 day pass. Options include a $9.95 monthly Web-only subscription or various Web/Print combinations.
Still free are stories from USA Today and other sources woven into the site, such as those under the heading “From our news network” on the “Topic: Oil Spill” pages.
It probably goes without saying that the local business directories and ads are still free, too.
CNN.com may not be the first place I go to immerse myself in the familiar comforts of Associated Press stories, but still, this has to be seen as another blow to the venerable wire service.
For those of us who have spent semester after semester training students on how it’s Pa. (not PA, Penn., Penna, ad nauseam), we once again have yet another reason, perhaps, to add more asterisks to the teaching of newspaper style guide rules and another reason to teach the very historiography of style guides.
According to the Huffington Post:
The AP confirmed that the two news organizations differed on terms for licensing AP stories, photos, video and other content beyond the June 30 expiration of the existing contract. CNN has been an AP customer since the cable network launched in 1980.
AP and CNN officials would not comment on why the talks broke down or how much the expiring contract was worth. CNN spokesman Nigel Pritchard would only say that the terms AP was offering “did not fit our business model.”
“We will no longer use AP materials or services,” CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton told employees in an internal memo Monday. “The content we offer will be distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own.”
What do you think? Should CNN have stuck with AP, or dump it?
“Newspapers have escaped cataclysm by becoming leaner and more focused” according to The Economist‘s Newspapers: The strange survival of ink, a story rich in European examples.
But even in the U.S., it says, “some companies are now worth ten times as much as in the spring of 2009, although they remain far from pre-recession heights.”
(See the article for some interesting details on McClatchy and Gannett, including a report that more Gannett papers using USA Today material.)
“The survival of newspapers is by no means guaranteed,” the article concludes, after discussing business strategies that involve iPads and smartphones, more local news and sports, etc. Emphasis added below:
“They still face big structural obstacles: it remains unclear, for example, whether the young will pay for news in any form. But the recession brought out an impressive and unexpected ability to adapt. If newspapers can keep that up in better times, they may be able to contemplate more than mere survival.”
I’ve made it an irregular habit since the mid-naughties to scan the total number of jobs listed at JournalismJobs.com, and I was surprised recently to see the number back to pre-recession numbers at a whopping 738 ads!
I know, I know: there are all kinds of valid reasons why this number is worthless. Perhaps they’re all ad sales jobs (they’re not, I see), or JournalismJobs.com is more popular than ever (which could very well be true). For comparison, for “the longest time” (another precise term on my part) “a few years ago,” I noticed that the number hovered in the low 400s. And now it’s 738.
The figure may be a dubious and inexact barometer of the journalism employment picture in America, but I’ll take it.
The indispensable paidContent has an interesting story on a bit of apparent site traffic numerical jujitsu from the Murdoch empire as News International approaches the raising of a paywall in June, when the Times and Sunday Times will start costing online readers £2 a week:
March monthly figures for UK newspaper sites were issued Thursday – but both Murdoch sites are absent.
ABC confirmed to paidContent:UK that it is still auditing the publisher’s traffic numbers – but it is keeping the figures private at News International’s request and, at present, publication is not due to resume next month.
This means it will be hard to see exactly how many readers Times Online will lose when it starts charging …
Since the the Times and Sunday Times still plan to use advertising, it’s perhaps not surprising that the corporation wants, in advance, to apply a layer of lipstick on what will surely be, in the short term at least, a pig in the spotlight.
From Online Media Daily:
“The Newspaper Association of America is touting online behavioral targeting as a partial fix for the industry’s revenue woes.
“‘Targeted advertising shows significant promise for newspapers seeking new ways to support local journalism,’ the organization writes in comments filed with the Federal Trade Commission. The comments were filed in advance of this week’s FTC public workshops about media, ‘From Town Crier to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age.’”
The NAA questions the idea of regulations that would require a consumer “opt in” system for targeted ad programs. Some privacy advocates think opt-in is a good idea.
More from OMD reporter Wendy Davis: Newspaper Group Argues Against Opt-In Consent For Behavioral Targeting. Via MediaPost Publications
Yes, journalists deserve subsidies too
So say Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, writing at washingtonpost.com. They quote President Obama’s comments to newspaper editors who asked about the industry’s crisis:
“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context,” he said, “that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding.”
McChesney and Nichols add:
“What’s notable about Obama’s response to the question, posed during an Oval Office interview with editors from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade, was his consciousness that the problem is not that print is fading.
“The problem is that newspaper newsrooms, once packed with reporters, are disappearing, and neither broadcast nor digital media are filling the void.”
McChesney, of UIUC, and Nichols, who writes for the Nation, are founders of the media reform organization, Free Press. “Saving newspapers may be impossible,” they write. “But we can save journalism. Step one is to begin ways for enlightened public subsidies to provide a competitive and independent digital news media…”
Read it all here: Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, at washingtonpost.com,
It’s been floating around the net for almost a month, but if you haven’t seen it and need an infographic to make clear the state of the traditional newspaper biz to anyone, try this picture from Mint.com, a financial-management website. The original is 1100×2001 pixels, if you’re counting, big enough to see the sad details.
Extra points to the copydesk veterans who catch the biggest error in the multi-part graphic, or for adding comments to this post to point out specific pages at NAA, Bloomberg, or elsewhere, with the graphic’s source statistics.
The accompanying blog post is here, with discussion, including at least one eagle-eyed reader’s comment on a “do the math!” error of the sort we try to impress on beginning reporters and editors:
If you don’t mind the distraction of discouraging news, you might use the graphic as a math-literacy teaching tool, with a hat-tip to Joe Murphy of the Denver Post for catching the error. Not much of a silver lining, but…
Loosely related (and some more-optimistic) items, rather than have an depressing block of white space next to the long, tall depressing graphic:
- Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy (Oct. 2009) report: Informing Communities Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age
- Dan McDonough Jr. and Alan Bauer (May 2009) in The Christian Science Monitor, A newspaper business model that’s working.
- Paul Starr in The New Republic (March 2009), Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a new era of corruption)
- Walter Isaacson (Feb. 2009) in Time, How to Save Your Newspaper.
- Eric Alterman (2008), in The New Yorker, on Out of Print: The Death and Life of an American Newspaper.
- NAA Presstime Blog