On the heels of The New York Times lowering of its free-reading limit, Washington Post ombudsman summarizes the current state of “paywall” plans and predicts Post will stay free.
- The Los Angeles Times digital “memberships” began March 5
- Gannett Co. announced that its regional newspapers — but not its flagship paper USA Today — will begin charging for online content.
The New York Times is making its paywall a little taller. Those of you who enjoyed the 20 free Times articles accessible monthly to non-subscribers will only get 10, starting next month. At the very least, could it be a plausible sign that the New York Times’ $3.75 a week digital subscription plan isn’t failing?
Journal Register/Digital First operates media companies in 10 states. In Connecticut, along with the New Haven daily, it owns Connecticut Magazine, The Register Citizen in Torrington, The Middletown Press, and weeklies.
The Courant, founded in 1764, is not part of the conglomerate. It was for many years the oldest independent newspaper in America. Today it is owned by the Chicago-based Tribune Corp., which purchased Los Angeles-based Times Mirror in 2000, some 20 years after that chain had taken over The Courant.
The Register, the online-only New Haven Independent and Connecticut Public Radio covered the final press run in New Haven. A search of the Courant website turned up no story about the press run, but did locate a story on the planned printing takeover when it was announced in January. That item said the Courant was also negotiating to print other Journal Register titles. Stories:
- New Haven Register presses run for last time as printing moves, pressmen reflect on end of era (Register, with video, photos)
- The Last Headline Rolls Off The Presses (NH Independent)
- New Haven Register Celebrates its 200th Anniversary
…AND CLOSES ITS PRINTING PRESSES FOR GOOD (WNPR)
- New Haven Register to Lay Off 105 as Courant Takes Over Printing (The Courant, Jan. 10)
Note: Embracing the “Digital First” philosophy, I used Twitter to check with Matt DeRienzo, group editor for Journal Register in Connecticut. He confirmed that the Courant will be printing the New Haven, Torrington and Middletown dailies, plus weeklies. “Backup in NY, plus historic gentlemen’s agreements in CT,” he added.
“It sounds like something out of the 25th century, but it’s here now” — announcer, 1983.
From the AT&T Archives, here are two video views extolling the “synergistic” development of the future of online news, 30 years ago at Knight-Ridder: The Viewtron project.
AT&T was Knight-Ridder’s partner in the Viewdata Corporation, and its first video takes us into the Miami Herald building for a tour of the system with Viewdata Corporation’s President Albert J. Gillen, previously a senior vice-president at Knight Ridder.
The phrase “up to the minute news” is used, but the old-fashioned word “newspaper” doesn’t turn up much in his presentation, which goes into more detail on home-shopping, looking things up in online encyclopedias and making transactions with your E.F. Hutton account.
The AT&T Archive includes some background information on its YouTube page:
A second film has more to say about AT&T’s Sceptre TV-terminal hardware.
Viewdata began in Florida with a test market and grew to around 15 cities and 15,000 users, according to the AT&T text, which mentions that before the end the company had developed software that would allow IBM, Commodore and Apple computers users to access the system.
- ITWorld recapped the history of Viewtron in a short article about the videos on YouTube: Time Machine: Why didn’t Internet on TV take off in 1983?
- For a robust, if sometimes baud-rate-centric, discussion of the videos, see Slashdot: News for Nerds. More than 400 comments were logged in the first day of the discussion, including comparisons with the French Minitel system, predictable observations that porn might have saved Viewtron, and a 1982 article by a system architect arguing that powers-that-be rejected his plans for a more open community service, complete with hierarchies of editorial staffs (Videotex Networking and The American Pioneer, by Jim Bowery).
- From other archives: Your library’s access to The New York Times archive will give you more of this story, but it’s where I checked on Gillen’s title at Knight-Ridder Think Electronic, Publishers Urged (May 2, 1982):
The American Newspaper Publishers Association was warned last week to prepare for a day when the very notion of a news ”paper” may be outdated by information transmitted to video screens. ”If you don’t get into the business, someone else will,” said Albert J. Gillen, senior vice president of Knight-Ridder Newspapers, who was one of several speakers to sound the theme at the assocation’s meeting in San Francisco.
- For an even earlier view, here’s a 1980 InfoWorld magazine interview with Gillen:
“We made the decision to proceed for two reasons. First, defensively, this new media form could have a negative impact on the newspaper business. Second, offensively, we saw a new opportunity to take advantage of the abilities we already know how to use very well.”
The Guardian enlisted The Three Little Pigs on Feb. 29 as part of an “open journalism” advertising campaign for its social-network-connected news products.
Online, the video ad is accompanied by Editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger‘s notes on the thinking behind what the Guardian calls its digitally empowered approach to active-audience journalism, also highlighted in a March 24-25 “open weekend.”
The paper said the two-minute spot “imagines how we might cover the story of the Three Little Pigs in print and online. Follow the story from the paper’s front page headline, through a social media discussion and finally to an unexpected conclusion.”
Note: I aggregate other video newspaper promotions and commentaries at my Other Journalism Video Pages.