Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Why won’t some people pay for news?
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April 3, 2013, 12:10 p.m.

It’s been three months since Andrew Sullivan left The Daily Beast and tested the loyalty of his readership with a $19.99 annual subscription fee. In an interview with Business Insider, Sullivan explains why he can’t quite stomach sponsored content and how he decided to make the leap into independence. At heart, he says he’s a journalist not altogether comfortable with functioning as a businessman:

I think things have shifted a little bit. One likes to think one is above all this and say “I’m a writer, I only produce what comes from the purist of my intentions and none of this affects me.” And, it doesn’t really affect me. I’m not going to change my views on a subject because it’s more popular. I’m not going to stop writing about circumcision even though readers roll their eyes when I do. I’m not going to stop shitting on New York, simply because it’s hilarious to do so. None of that will change.

But I found that there had previously been a subtle incentive to create pageviews…Our incentive now is to get the guy or the woman who read it today to subscribe and get the guy or woman who subscribed yesterday to re-subscribe in a year’s time. That’s what we need. We need to make he experience worth what they’re paying for it and worth renewing.

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