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.

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

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

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

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

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

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

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

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

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

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

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

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

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

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

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

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

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

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

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

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

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

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

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

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Hearken   Pivot to people

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

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

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

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

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

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

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

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

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

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

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work