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On a rough day for American newspapers, investors aren’t buying Gannett’s story and Tribune’s not done chopping
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May 9, 2013, 12:45 p.m.
LINK: www.politico.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   May 9, 2013

Fittingly, Politico’s media reporter Dylan Byers has the memo. Apparently, Politico won’t miss a few Idahoans or Rhode Islanders or Czechs:

Here is how the experiment will work: Readers overseas and in six states will be required to pay for our content after consuming a set number of pages of it, much like they do when visiting The New York Times, The Boston Globe and scores of other news sources. We will experiment with a few different price points and page limits to find the sweet spot for our readership. We chose smaller states, spread across the country, so our experiment captures any regional trends and also limits any potential loss of traffic to the site. This will last at least six months, so we have a large enough sample to appraise the results.

The decision to test a broader subscription model represents a shift in our thinking. As recently as a few months ago, we thought it was premature for POLITICO to start asking readers to pay for content, outside of Pro. But, it is increasingly clear that readers are more willing than we once thought to pay for content they value and enjoy. With more than 300 media companies now charging for online content in the U.S., the notion of paying to read expensive-to-produce journalism is no longer that exotic for sophisticated consumers. This is a very promising, if uncertain, trend in our country. The collective decision by media companies to give away for free a product of high value and high cost will go down as one of the worst, self-defeating moves in the history of industry. Thankfully, there are some signs this is changing.

For the record, they haven’t said which six states will get the stiff-arm. (Update: The list is out: Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Sorry, Cheyenners and Amesians, Albuquerquers and Biloxians.) As Sam Stein jokes:

Longtime paywall watchers will remember that The New York Times tested its paywall in Canada in 2011 before bringing it to the U.S. of A.

Also worth noting that the Politico memo falsely claims The Boston Globe has a metered paywall. It doesn’t.

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On a rough day for American newspapers, investors aren’t buying Gannett’s story and Tribune’s not done chopping
“I just don’t believe where the stock is trading” is not a thing you want to hear from one of your biggest investors. And in Chicago, some of the most prestigious positions in journalism are now either eliminated or part-time gigs.
No one cares that you were editor of your college newspaper: Reporter bios don’t improve readers’ trust in your news outlet
Crave the smell of barbecue? Love your kids? Won a Pulitzer? None of it seems to move the needle on how your readers perceive your work.
Maybe publisher cooperation is a path forward for news, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of public media
In Norway and Sweden, a survey finds some people won’t pay for online news because the news from their free public broadcaster is good enough. That’s a feature, not a bug.