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Study: 7 in 10 local news readers wouldn’t greatly miss their hometown paper

Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project
Pew’s latest report, a deep dive into the characteristics of people who closely follow local news, is one of those glass-half-full/half-empty situations. Pew reports:

Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others.

The report goes on to say that 32 percent of these people say the disappearance of their local paper would have a major impact on their lives. Among people who aren’t that interested in local news, about half say their lives wouldn’t change at all if they didn’t have a local paper. Read more


David Cohn: It’s about time we had something like Google’s survey alternative to paywalls

“I hope upon hopes that this is a concept whose time has come. Especially in light of the real ‘year of the paywall.’

“What IS a paywall? In essence it makes content valuable by creating scarcity. While good for the bottom line – this is bad for [the] essence of journalism. It says ‘this information is valuable and if you pay you’ll know something that other people won’t.’ The higher purpose of journalism is to create an informed democratic society. Not to create a  subset of society who can afford to be informed.”

David Cohn


Google Customer Survey questions are an offbeat alternative to a paywall

Adweek | paidContent
Speaking at the Guardian’s Open Weekend event, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger asked readers what they’d be willing to give in exchange for the paper’s journalism: money, time or data.

Rusbridger, do I ever have an economic model to throw out at your next chat. Google Customer Surveys are these odd wee questions that interrupt articles at sites that employ them. You tell the box what you like about movie theaters, for example, and then you can read about someone accused of making bomb threats to local schools.
Read more


Morning media roundup: Bradlee and Quinn go ‘Mad’

Things we learned about Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn as Washington Post staff live-blogged their viewing of “Mad Men” Sunday night:

  • Smoking:Sally Quinn says that her husband, Ben Bradlee, smoked three packs a day while executive editor of the Washington Post,” wrote Cory Haik. “He started in the Navy, where everyone smoked. ‘He quit smoking because I told him he was going to kill himself. I smoked Vogue cigarettes. They came in pink or blue with gold filters. I quit when I was trying to get pregnant.’”
  • Safety: Quinn, quoted by Washington Post search editor Justin Bank: “Do you have any idea how scary it was to put pins inside your child’s diapers?” And quoted by UX director Yuri Victor: “There were no seatbelts back then.
Read more

Howard Owens: Newspaper paywalls create opportunities for startup news sites

“In every market where a newspaper puts up a paywall, an opportunity is created for an entrepreneur to start a local online news business. … A key rule of disruption is to target the customers undervalued by incumbents. Clearly, any news site that puts up a paywall is telling the community, ‘there’s a lot of people in this town we don’t value.’ That creates pure opportunity for the disruptive entrepreneur.”

Howard Owens

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A year later, a look back at opining on the NYT paywall

The New York Times’ announcement that it will ratchet down on the number of articles that non-subscribers can view for free, from 20 to 10 a month, will inspire a new round of opinionating about whether its subscription plan is working and how readers will respond. Here’s a look back at what people said a year ago when the Times announced the details of its paywall.

In general, predictions that were based on numbers rather than ideology seem most accurate. Ken Doctor and Rick Edmonds both set 300,000 digital subscribers as a modest benchmark; there are now 454,000.

Sunday print circulation is up, confirming initial readings that the plan was designed to slow the erosion of subscribers. I occasionally hear people say they’ve never run into the wall because of their reliance on social, search and multiple devices. Read more


Happy hour conversation: Are paywalls disrespectful to readers?

PandoDaily’s Sarah Lacy sparked an interesting discussion Thursday when she argued that news sites are “reverting” to paywalls because they can’t fix their business model. Here’s how the conversation went. Read more


Justice Department says e-book sellers colluded to raise prices

The Wall Street Journal | Chicago Reader | Mother Jones
The Justice Department has threatened an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five major book publishers for colluding to raise e-book prices, the Journal reports. At issue was the decision by booksellers, led by Apple, to let book publishers set a single retail price for their e-books. Previously, sellers such as Amazon had offered discount prices to compete for customers.

In other e-books news, Steve Bogira at Chicago Reader agrees with Dwight Garner’s praise of Kindle Singles, but adds, “I’m not crazy about the ‘long-form’ label. Long-form doesn’t bring to mind much that’s positive. Would you rather file the long-form 1040, or the short-form 1040EZ?”

Meanwhile, Kevin Drum at Mother Jones takes a closer look at Matter, a crowdfunded startup that will produce a weekly long-form journalism piece for 99 cents. Read more


Washington Post steps into paid content with iPad app for politics news

The new WP Politics iPad app, which launches Monday, marks The Washington Post’s most significant attempt yet to charge readers for digital content.

The Post’s website and most everything else it does digitally is free (ad-supported). The company tried charging a nominal $1.99 a year for its main iPhone app when it debuted in 2010, but made it free about a year ago. Its main Android app is free, along with Social ReaderTrove, and niche apps for Redskins news,  D.C.-area transit and entertainment. (The only exception is a monthly fee to download Post stories to an e-reader.)

The new politics iPad app is also free to download and mostly free to use, supported by a persistent banner ad across the bottom of the screen. Read more


Journal Sentinel models metro papers’ emerging strategy for paid content

By last summer, The New York Times was well into the metered-model phase of its website, and many midsized and small papers were adopting variations.

But there was a pocket of resistance. Few metros were making the move. They appeared to be worried that they would lose readers for local breaking news to TV sites and for national news to the likes of CNN or MSNBC — or that their content was not compelling enough to attract paying customers with so much free news available on the Web. All that could lead to losses in the one category of advertising that has been growing.

A majority of metros remain holdouts, but the number taking the plunge is growing quickly. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel launched a “JS Everywhere” pay plan Jan. Read more

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