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Sept. 9, 2014, 1:56 p.m.
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LINK: new.dowjones.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   September 9, 2014

The Wall Street Journal wants readers to know that being a subscriber has its perks. The Journal rolled out WSJ+ this week, a complimentary membership program for readers who have subscriptions to the paper.

What, exactly, does being a WSJ+ member get you beyond a sweet membership card to display on your digital device of choice? From the Journal’s news release:

WSJ+ members will receive special offers and be welcomed to invitation-only events designed to bring Journal content to life, while providing subscribers elevated Journal experiences specially curated to speak to their wide-ranging and ambitious interests. Events will take place across the country and will include panel discussions with top Journal editors, as well as arts performances and private film screenings.

As a WSJ+ member you could get a talk and tour of the Journal newsroom (“learn how our famous stipples are made,” the event advertises) with Editor in Chief Gerald Baker or see a conversation between Whoopi Goldberg and legendary TV producer Norman Lear.

Many of the offers through WSJ+ are either discounts or raffles seemingly attuned to the needs of the aspirational Journal reader. Tell the “Golf Concierge” you’d like a discount to play at course in Hilton Head Island, or win two tickets to the Longines Los Angeles Masters equestrian event.

The Journal is one of a growing number of media companies that wants to deepen the relationship with readers through membership programs. Both nonprofit and for-profit companies are trying to find programs to incentivize paid readership while also collecting more detailed data on their audience. One difference is that some loyalty programs, like WSJ+, are complimentary with a subscription. Others, like The Guardian’s membership plan and The New York Times’ Times Premier, are extra, which means a potential added source of revenue.

The characteristics of the programs usually fall into similar categories: special access to events, discounts, and invitations to look behind the curtain of your beloved news provider. Wine and free books seem to be a love shared by media executives and newspaper readers.

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How much news makes it into people’s Facebook feeds? Our experiment suggests not much
Half the people in our survey saw no news at all in the first 10 posts in their feeds — even using an extremely generous definition of “news” that counted everything from celebrity gossip to sports scores to history-based explainers, across all mediums.
TV goes digital, digital goes TV
“Television reaches this critical stage with a lot of experience and lessons that have been learned by others, with heavy pockets, and two clear strengths: a very strong footprint on social networks, both from its brands and its individual talents, and a unique sensitivity for video storytelling that is higher than that of all its competitors.”
The editorial meeting of the future
“In the future, we’ll instead organize the editorial meeting around this all-important question: “What can we help the public understand or do today?” We won’t start with our ideas — we’ll start with the information gaps the public demonstrates they have, and focus our efforts squarely on filling those gaps.”