Luke Dittrich might be my favorite magazine writer, and his “The Prophet” — a skeptical profile of Dr. Eben Alexander — will be in August’s Esquire. But the magazine’s also posting it for sale separately on its website. Editor David Granger:
This is the first time we’ve asked online readers to pay for a story, but for good reason: Because stories like Dittrich’s matter and they don’t come along often. Because great journalism — and the months that go into creating it — isn’t free. So, besides providing the story to readers of our print and digital-tablet versions of the August issue, we are offering it to online readers as a stand-alone purchase. Thank you.
Great journalism, indeed, isn’t free. It’s paid for by full-page Salvatore Ferragamo ads.
Felix Salmon found the purchasing process taxing:
I didn’t have the same issues — a quick PayPal payment, pick a password, and you’re done. (Esquire’s using Tinypass.) Without giving away too much, it’s also worth noting that this is barely even a paywall technically. Very easy to evade with a well-timed keystroke or a trip to the web inspector. I would imagine that Esquire, like The New York Times, will probably leave its initial paid-content experiments intentionally leaky and tighten up over time.