2
0
1
9

Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

“The model of a one-size-fits-all paywall can work at a national level, but for local sites, a more crafty approach will have to take hold.”

In the next year or so, I expect to see more experimentation around how to drive reader revenue — particularly as it relates to the local news space.

The model of a one-size-fits-all paywall can work at a national level, but for local sites, a more crafty approach will have to take hold.

While part of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford this year, I spent time diving into different ideas around developing a conversion funnel and trying to better understand what makes readers pull out their credit card to support journalism. With a hard paywall being such a flashing red stoplight to users (not to mention an irritant), how can we ever hope to make someone feel good about subscribing?

In Boise, I am trying out an approach that asks for membership without cutting off public access to content. Instead, members are invited to receive a bundle of benefits — including a daily newsletter that includes stories that will be publicly posted tomorrow. While breaking news will still go live immediately, this “time wall” approach allows for members of our business-focused content to get a tangible perk while keeping the paywall down.

Another effort, Subscribe With Google, could give more local sites the ability to tap into the search giant’s pool of customers with pre-saved credit card information. Cutting down friction and making it easier for users to make a payment is a key way to help boost the number of paying subscribers. (Apple, are you listening?) It’s one of several components of the Google News Initiative that seem genuinely targeted at helping publishers of all types out of the spiral of recent years.

With guidance and research from the Membership Puzzle, Table Stakes, and other efforts, the local online ecosystem could be healthier in a year — with more reader revenue supporting strong quality journalism.

Don Day is publisher of BoiseDev.

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Manoush Zomorodi   Tech will do for information overload what it did for mindfulness

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Zainab Khan   Publishers whose products can stand up to social media giants will win

Adam B. Ellick   Video forensic reporting goes mainstream — and local

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Alexandra Borchardt   Newsrooms need to build trust with their journalists, not just the audience

Seth C. Lewis   The gap between journalism and research is too wide

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Matt Karolian   Publishers come to terms with being Facebook’s enablers

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Efrat Nechushtai   Journalism wants to be your friend, not your teacher

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   A long, slow slog, with no one coming to the rescue

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Hearken   Pivot to people

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Glyn Mottershead and Martin Chorley   When a tech company pulls the plug on your story

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Rebecca Lee Sanchez   We are all actors in the running rampant of political theater

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Tushar Banerjee   Interactive ads will be the new face of display advertising

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Jonathan Stray   More algorithmic accountability reporting, and a lot of it will be meh

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Amy King   We should listen to the kids (especially on Instagram)

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Tyler Fisher   This is journalism’s do-or-die moment

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Local news isn’t where you thought it was

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Raney Aronson-Rath   We learn “digital” doesn’t have to mean “short”

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Steve Myers   From trying to cover it all to covering what matters

Mike Isaac   The old exit doors for digital media companies are closing

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Stephanie Edgerly   It’s time to understand the un-audience

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Axie Navas   The traffic hunt, CMS battle, and magazine identity crises loom

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Umbreen Bhatti   The story doesn’t end for the people we quote

Simon Galperin   After capitalism’s fire, journalism’s secondary succession

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Frank Mungeam   Tonight at 11: News, sports, and climate change

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Cindy Royal   For journalism curriculum to change, its faculty needs disruption

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Heather Chaplin   Agree we’re partisan — for the democratic system

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   The most beautiful sentence in 2019 is “No.”

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Mike Rispoli and Craig Aaron   Government funds local news — and that’s a good thing

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Robin Kwong   Tech shouldn’t be the only field pollinating “news nerds”

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Frank Chimero   Leave the phone at home and put news on your wrist

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Alyssa Zeisler   We expand what (and how and who) we serve

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Matt Waite   “I went to Node.js because I wished to live deliberately”

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   A more sincere definition of “community”

Carrie Brown-Smith   Advocating a healthy civic life is no journalistic crime

Cristi Hegranes   A year to invest in the security of local journalists

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Pia Frey   You can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Sarah Stonbely   Mapping the local news ecosystem — with scale but detail

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Jennifer Dargan   You don’t build diversity through one-off training sessions

james Wahutu   Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Jesse Holcomb   We’ll get better at making the case for local journalism

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Hossein Derakhshan   The news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

An Xiao Mina   The death of consensus, not the death of truth

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Kjerstin Thorson   Time to get mad about information inequality (again)

Angilee Shah   The year news orgs say “yes” to real leaders

Elisabeth Goodridge   Yes, they signed up — but our job’s not over

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Millie Tran   There is no magic — you’ve got this

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Tshepo Tshabalala   Ahead of African elections, unlock partnerships with fact-checkers

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Whitney Phillips   Our information systems aren’t broken — they’re working as intended

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Jenée Desmond-Harris   It finally sinks in that some people aren’t white

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Claire Wardle   Forget deepfakes: Misinformation is showing up in our most personal online spaces

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know