As part of its new media issue, Politico Magazine has a Susan Glasser interview with Bill Keller (ex-New York Times) and Marcus Brauchli (ex-Washington Post, ex-Wall Street Journal) in which they give their take on the changing media world.
On paywalls, Keller:
I was executive editor for eight years. We probably spent six of those years worrying about what the business model would be. And we looked at everything. We looked at every variation of pay models. We looked at micropayments, we looked at nonprofit status even, for God’s sake — we looked at everything. Should we have done it [launched a paywall] earlier? I don’t know. I mean, yeah, we could have done it earlier, it might have helped, but we did it early enough.
There was a strong sense that having a large audience was vital to the Post’s success and relevance, and even today with the paywall as it’s been implemented (at least as I understand it), there is still a desire to have the largest possible audience. I’ve been watching with some interest as they’re trying to evolve the model to now enable readers of other metropolitan newspapers around the country to have access to Washington Post content, which is clearly an attempt to broaden the audience as much as possible. I don’t know that there’s got to be one model in journalism.
(Trivia: Marcus Brauchli’s brother David is an exec at the European paywall company Piano Media.)
Lots of other interesting color in there — check it out.