‘Traffic is great today’ at The New Yorker

How did The New Yorker arrive at the number of articles that will trigger its new metered paywall, which debuted today? It observed you cheapskates who gorged on its content for free all summer.

“We studied reader patterns,” Editor Nicholas Thompson said in a phone call. There was no magic spot, just “what seemed fair and what felt right.” Plus they looked at how people arrived on those pages.

“It’s hard, right, because of the way we read the Internet right now,” he said. “A large percentage of traffic is people who only read one or two stories a month.” Traffic to The New Yorker’s homepage is up, Thompson said, but phones and tablets now deliver about 50 percent of its total traffic.

Story No. 7 looked like the inflection point, the spot at which serious readers would lift their credit cards and commit.

A digital- or print-only subscription to The New Yorker costs $60 per year, and an all-access pass costs $70 (there’s a $1 per week promotion for the first 12 weeks, so you can nibble away at that a little). The magazine posts about 15-18 blog posts per day and the contents of each week’s magazine Sunday at midnight, occasionally busting a piece of hot news out early.

The old New Yorker site cordoned off much of the magazine content from nonsubscribers but let anyone read blog posts. Now all content is equal in the eyes of the paywall. So consider that Borowitz link carefully! (Social visits will count against your six freebies; in case you’re wondering,’s biggest referrers are, in order, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.)

The New Yorker didn’t share whether it had specific goals for reader revenue as a share of total revenue, but “obviously we want to maximize both” that and advertising revenue, Thompson said. The latter is a little tougher when a paywall has the potential to drive pageviews down.

“My goal is that lots of people subscribe and support the journalism that we do,” Thompson said. Asked about whether the new paywall had dented digital visits in its first day, he said, “Traffic is great today! I think it’s better than it was a week ago.”

Correction: This post originally said LinkedIn was The New Yorker’s third top social referrer. Reddit holds that distinction. Read more


NYT corrected Gary Hart story after source’s recollection changed

Good morning. Thanks, veterans. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. NYT corrects Gary Hart story

    Former Miami Herald reporter Tom Fiedler disputes the chronology he gave Matt Bai about when he saw Gary Hart's challenge to prove his infidelity. "Therefore, it is likely that the original version of this article, based in large part on Fiedler’s account, referred incorrectly to the point at which any of the Herald journalists first saw the Times article quoting Hart as saying, 'Follow me around,'" the correction reads. "The text has been adjusted accordingly." (NYT) | Bai: "I find it particularly disturbing that Fiedler, someone I'd very much admired, has now invented a new version of events after repeatedly and recently reconfirming his own longstanding account, which is something we as journalists often condemn in the people we cover." (HuffPost)

  2. Journalists and lawyers: A special legal mini-roundup

    ACLU sues St. Louis County police on behalf of Bilgin Şaşmaz, a Turkish journalist arrested in Ferguson in August. "The suit says that Şaşmaz repeatedly said “Press, Press” to identify himself. Caucasian reporters and photographers who were also documenting the incident were not arrested, it says." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) | Read the suit: (ACLU of Missouri) | Related: AP CEO Gary Pruitt wrote U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey demanding answers about the FBI's impersonation of an AP reporter and seeking "assurances that this won’t happen again." (AP) | Jack Shafer: "Any blurring of the line between government and press can only benefit the government at the expense of the press and the dilution of the best law the country has, the First Amendment." (Reuters) | Also in journalists and courts: Ben Seibert sues Nancy Grace, who incorrectly reported he "invaded a woman's home and snapped a photo of himself on her phone, which she described as a 'textbook serial killer's calling card.'" (AP)

  3. Russia annexes media

    The Kremlin's new Sputnik service "aims to offer an alternative for people who are 'tired of aggressive propaganda promoting a unipolar world and want a different perspective,' according to its press release." (Moscow Times) | For instance, did you know that Miami was on the brink of secession? (BuzzFeed) | "The editor-in-chief of business daily Kommersant has resigned, triggering speculation Monday that he was forced out over a recent article in the newspaper about oil giant Rosneft." (Moscow Times) | CNN will no longer be broadcast in Russia after the end of the year; it ended distribution deals "following the passage of new media laws in Russia." (Mashable)

  4. Washington Post says Zakaria stories are problematic

    Five of the Post articles ID'd as unoriginal by the mysterious media critics @blippoblappo and @crushingbort are "problematic," editorial page Editor Fred Hiatt said. (Poynter) | Slate corrected a 1998 article he wrote. "I have to distinguish my own view here from Slate’s editorial decision, which I respect but don’t agree with," Slate Group boss Jacob Weisberg tells Dylan Byers. (Politico) | The next thing? "Someone from NYC is editing Zakaria's Wikipedia page to remove notes about his plagiarism and fix his mom's name." (@blippoblappo)

  5. NPR's ombudsman search is taking a while

    Edward Schumacher-Matos' last day keeps getting postponed. (Media Moves)

  6. The New Yorker paywall returns

    "We are quite reliably told that" on Tuesday "the Web site of the New Yorker, the last magazine in the world, will no longer offer the entirety of its archives, going back to 2007, for free." (The Awl)

  7. Is it time to forgive Stephen Glass?

    Hanna Rosin visits her former New Republic colleague, who has reassembled his life as a paralegal in California. "When clients come in, Steve helps the firm get them ready for trial. The first thing he does is tell them who he is. He says he worked at a magazine and he lied and made up stories and covered them up. He says he got caught, that Hollywood made a movie about it and that there are many people 'who dislike me and rightly so.'" (The New Republic)

  8. Meanwhile, in Australia

    Reporter drinks camel's milk for a month. (The Advertiser)

  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare

    A chiseled salute to veterans on the Arizona Republic. (Courtesy the Newseum)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    Greg Jaffe will cover the White House for The Washington Post. Previously, he covered the Pentagon there. Steve Mufson will cover the White House for The Washington Post. He covers the energy industry there. (Washington Post) | Herman Wong has joined the Washington Post's social media team. Previously, he was on the social media team at Quartz. (Washington Post) | Peter Holley is now a reporter on the general assignment desk at The Washington Post. Previously, he was an associate editor at Houstonia magazine. (Washington Post) | Joyce MacDonald is now vice president of journalism at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Previously, she was interim president and CEO at National Public Media. (Poynter) | Job of the day: The Center (Texas) Light and Champion is looking for a reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Corrections? Tips? Please email me: Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here. Read more


Fox News crushed competitors on election night

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Fox News beat broadcast networks on election night

    It also crushed in 2010, the last Republican wave. (NYT) | "Fox News is normally the dominant player in cable news, but its high ratings on Tuesday may have been partly influenced by the nature of the 2014 electorate." (Politico) | Related: "Think of the GOP’s Senate takeover as a full-employment act for Washington reporters," Jack Shafer writes. (Reuters)

  2. Earnings season update

    News Corp saw overall revenues rise, but ad revenue at its print newspapers fell 7 percent over the same period the year before. Strong results at its book division (including recently acquired Harlequin) and other businesses drove an overall growth in revenue at the spun-off company. (Capital) | Torstar, which sold Harlequin to News Corp, saw a 7 percent drop in revenue over all. It plans to drop the paywall at its Toronto Star next year. (Poynter) | Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. saw revenues rise 48 percent. (Sinclair) | Gray Television's revenue was up 49 percent. (Ticker Report) | Tribune Publishing saw a decline in ad revenue but CEO Jack Griffin thinks the company's entry into the digital marketing services market could be a bright spot. Also, gulp: "We have much work to do to get operating margins in line with our peers." (Poynter) | Related: Tribune Publishing paid $23.5 million for the Sun-Times' suburban papers. (Robert Feder)

  3. Layoffs at The Weather Channel

    "As many as 40 staffers are being cut from the ranks of senior producers, show producers, and weather producers," Chris Ariens writes. TWC is reorganizing and had layoffs last month, too. (TVNewser) | ICYMI: Claire Suddath's great story last month about TWC's digital strategy. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

  4. Happy birthday, banner ads

    The form's persistence "illustrates the snowballing dangers of new technology," Farhad Manjoo writes: "Once an innovation becomes marginally accepted, its early success can quickly mushroom into dominance, even if pretty much everyone agrees that it is no good." (NYT)

  5. Newsletter links to story about newsletters

    Vox, FT, Time and Quartz lay out their strategies. (Digiday) | Reup! "How Time’s email newsletter achieves a 40 percent open rate" (Poynter)

  6. Feds approve sale of station to Pluria Marshall Jr.

    His acquisition of KLJB in the Quad Cities "is an important step in fulfilling Nexstar’s commitment to incubate broadcast station ownership by minority-owned companies, which is also a key FCC initiative." (New America Media) | Marshall also plans to purchase KMSS in Shreveport, Louisiana, and KPEJ in Odessa, Texas. (BlackPressUSA) | Last December Joseph Torres and S. Derek Turner reported that no black-owned and operated full-power TV stations remained in U.S. (Free Press)

  7. Newsweek crowd-funds an investigation

    "Funding the project doesn’t just mean paying for one magazine story to be written; [writer Mandy] Van Deven will be using the funds raised to spend months embedding within college campuses; interviewing students, schools administrators, sexual assault experts and more; and publishing regular updates on her findings, as well as intermittent in-depth reports and other features." (Newsweek) | It's using Beacon, which was also the company HuffPost used to fund its Ferguson fellowship. Beacon co-founder Adrian Sanders tells Mathew Ingram: "It’s not up to Beacon about how and where news organizations should spend their dollars, all we’re doing is saying: Here’s a chance to do more with new revenue models and create a hyper-engaged readership around this editorial at the same time.” (Gigaom)

  8. The last season of "The Newsroom" starts Sunday

    It's the show's last season. "Co-star Olivia Munn said the series' legacy is that it inspired a new crop of journalists." (AP)

  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare

    The Virginian-Pilot's front page may remind you of "Anatomy of a Murder"'s titles. (Courtesy the Newseum)

  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin

    Casey Newton is now Silicon Valley editor at The Verge. Previously, he was a senior reporter there. (Poynter) | Dean Chang is now metro print editor at The New York Times. Previously, he was city editor there. (Capital) | Mitch Perry will cover local politics at Extensive Enterprises Media. Previously, he was news and politics editor for Creative Loafing Tampa. (saintpetersblog) | Javier García is now vice president and general manager of multicultural services at Comcast Cable. Previously, he was general manager of U.S. Hispanic business at Yahoo. (Media Moves) | Zander Lurie will be senior vice president of media at GoPro. Previously, he was an executive at Guggenheim Digital Media. (Forbes) | Job of the day: The Elkhart Truth is looking for a page designer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Read more

Toronto Star plans to drop paywall

Toronto Star | Torstar | The Canadian Press

The Toronto Star “anticipates eliminating the paywall on its website next year,” parent company Torstar says in an earnings release. The release says the company plans a new tablet product, developed with La Presse. The Star “will seek to expand its audiences and increase engagement through this and other projects and it anticipates eliminating the paywall in 2015 with some potential impact on circulation revenue,” the release says.

Revenue at Torstar was down 7 percent in the third quarter of 2014, compared to the same period the year before. Its holdings include
Metroland Media Group, which publishes three daily newspapers and many community papers, and the Star Media Group, which publishes the Star and other papers. It sold the book company Harlequin in August for $455 million CAD. Read more

Brian Kilmeade

‘Fox & Friends’: ‘We are not, we were not’ taking domestic violence lightly

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Program may feature fewer domestic violence jokes: “Fox & Friends” co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy had a real laff-fest over a video, released by TMZ, that showed the football player battering his then fiancée in an elevator. “I think the message is, take the stairs,” Kilmeade quipped. The program will address the remarks today. (WP) | That address in full:

    Peter King writes about the “lapse in reporting on my part” that led to him writing NFL officials had previously seen the Rice tape. “No one from the league has ever knocked down my report to me, and so I was surprised to see the claim today that league officials have not seen the tape.” (SI) | “At the time, it was important for the NFL to establish that it was taking great pains to investigate the incident.” (Deadspin) | Sally Jenkins: “It simply defies belief that league and team officials couldn’t have seen it if they wanted to.” (WP) | AP has seen a longer version of the video. (AP) | “Seedy as it feels to read it, TMZ is a triumph of a news organization.” (Politico)

  2. Piano Media buys Press+: The small Slovakian paywall company plans aggressive expansion in Latin America and Europe, Rick Edmonds reports. It has named Kelly Leach, the publisher of WSJ’s European edition, as its CEO. (Poynter) | Know your Piano: Ken Doctor wrote about the company in 2011. (Nieman) I wrote something in 2012. (Poynter) | Newsweek chose Piano to administer its paywall earlier this year. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  3. More paywall news: Esquire asks readers to donate $2.99 before reading Tom Junod‘s 2003 article “The Falling Man.” The money will go to a scholarship fund at Marquette University named for James Foley. (AdAge)
  4. Politico plots move to Europe: Its Euro HQ will be in Brussels, Michael Calderone reports. “On Monday morning, Politico CEO Jim VandeHei told senior editors that the company’s plans for Europe are ‘much bigger than anyone is thinking.’” (HuffPost)
  5. BuzzFeed taps SimpleReach to do analytics for former partners: The publication is ending its partner network. “Publishers that sign up for the free service will get a limited, real-time dashboard of trending content, similar to what BuzzFeed was providing.” (Digiday) | Frédéric Filloux will not forgive BuzzFeed for those “Frozen” GIFs: “We never saw a down/mass market product morphing into a premium media,” he writes. (Monday Note) | **Cough** “Pet Sounds”! “Revolver”! **Cough**
  6. Carol Loomis talks about her career: “After my first story, which wasn’t very good, I got absolutely rabid about collecting every fact I could before I ever interviewed anybody,” she tells Ryan Chittum. “I believed that if you’ve done your homework, then about one minute into the interview they don’t even notice whether you’re a man or a woman.” (CJR)
  7. Man seeks j-school degree: 71-year-old Martti Lahtinen took a buyout from the Ottawa Citizen in 2009 after 23 years on the job, and has decided to finish his journalism degree. (His 97-year-old mother is encouraging him.) When Lahtinen gets his degree, Trevor Greenway reports, “He says he may just hang it on his wall and continue his retirement – or in his camper when he travels across Canada. He just hopes the school spells his name right.” (Metro)
  8. Front page of the day, selected by Kristen Hare: The Arizona Daily Sun fronts a photo of flooding in Phoenix. (Courtesy the Newseum)
  9. Scotsman covers independence movement: Edinburgh’s Scotsman newspaper removed a ban on mentions of a pro-independance blog, Wings Over Scotland, in its comments section after Martin Belam tested out rumors of a ban and wrote about it. (Martin Belam) | Earlier this week, the Scotsman ran an article suggesting an ISIS link to Scotland’s independence movement. (The Scotsman) | The country’s independence referendum is next Thursday. | Really good point: Will an independent Scotland get its own Eurovision entry? (BuzzFeed)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Mike McCarthy is now senior vice president and general manager of CNN International. Previously, he was senior vice president of programming at CNN. (The Wrap) | David Fallis is now deputy investigative editor at The Washington Post. Previously, he was an investigative reporter there. (The Washington Post) | Usha Sahay is a news editor at The Huffington Post. Previously, she was director of digital outreach at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. (@ushasahay) | James Corden will host “The Late Late Show.” He is an actor and comedian. (The Guardian) | John Laposky is now editor-in-chief of This Week in Consumer Electronics. He was managing editor there. (New Bay Media) | Job of the day: The International Business Times is looking for a technology reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more


Are you paying too much for the NYT?

The New York Times has introduced three new digital subscription tiers in recent months — and added new benefits to others. So it’s a good time to reevaluate which price point and products are right for you. You might be surprised to find out you’re paying too much for your Times subscription.

I was still under the impression that my Sunday print subscription was the cheapest way for me to also get all the digital benefits I wanted (Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton wrote about this print subsidization phenomenon a few years back). But it turns out I can get every digital product I actually use for a couple fewer bucks per week — if I’m willing to give up the physical newspaper. Read more


Missourian paywall is ‘Biggest buzzkill,’ student paper says

The Maneater

The Columbia Missourian’s paywall “makes no sense,” Jill Deutsch writes in University of Missouri student paper The Maneater, dubbing the gate the university’s “Biggest buzzkill” in its Year in Review package.

It makes no sense for journalism students, many of whom are, uh, required to take reporting classes with the Missourian. That means that besides shelling out for those credit hours and providing free labor for a professional newspaper, these students have to pay extra money in order for them (and potential employers) to access their own work.

Professional editors oversee a student staff at the Missourian, which covers the city of Columbia. It launched a paywall in 2012 that charges for articles more than 24 hours old. The paywall, which costs $6 per month, brings in about $40,000 per year, The Maneater reported in January.

Last December the Missouri Students Association requested the Missourian find some way to make the paper free for students, and Missourian GM Dan Potter committed to doing so.

“Yet, it is the end of the year, and the wall is still standing,” Deutsch writes. Read more


No paginated articles for members of Slate’s new membership program

Slate | Nieman

Slate’s new membership program Slate Plus launched Monday, and Editor David Plotz reels off some of the premiums in the $5 per month/$50 per year program he says will lead to a “a richer, smoother Slate experience” in his announcement: “special access to favorite Slate writers and editors.” Early access to some features. A really nice-looking mug.

All of which pales compared to the most important benefit: No more paginated articles.

Slate will be sleeker for Slate Plus members. We know how much some of you dislike pagination: Slate Plus members will automatically get single-page articles throughout the site. Members will also be able to read and post comments directly on article pages, rather in a pop-up window, and we’ll highlight member comments.

The membership is not a paywall — all Slate’s content is still free for cheapskates. (Though the idea of eliminating annoyances in exchange for cash may be interesting to publishers no matter how or whether they charge for content — I would consider paying to never see “Read more” followed by a URL when I paste a quote into a blog post.)

Nieman’s Josh Benton writes that Slate Plus’ value “isn’t single-page stories or a pre-show spritzer with Emily Bazelon — it’s just the fact that it’s an opportunity for people willing to pay to do so.”

There are Slate superfans whose relationship with the site stretches more than a decade. Slate’s done a good job of pushing the personalities of its writers, which strengthens those reader–website connections. I suspect for many who sign up for Slate Plus, the decision will be less of a cost–benefit analysis and more of a “sure, they’ve given me a lot of good stuff over the years — I’ll throw them some coin.” Think of people who give to their local NPR station: It’s not really for the totebag.

Read more

Why The Seattle Times lowered its paywall during the mudslide — but not completely

The mudslide near Oso, Wash., on March 22 and its aftermath commanded national attention, but one local news organization was in position to own the story.

That meant The Seattle Times had a decision to make: Was its tirelessly produced news about the disaster and the search for survivors so important that it merited a suspension of the website’s year-old paywall?

Yes and no. Read more


Slate to introduce Amazon Prime-like membership plan

The New York Times

“Slate Plus” will launch Tuesday, Leslie Kaufman reports. While all Slate’s content will remain available for free, readers who pay $5 per month (or $50 per year) will get “special access to the site’s editors and writers, as well as members-only discussions with Emily Yoffe, Slate’s Dear Prudence advice columnist.” They’ll also get input into profiles, ad-free podcasts and discounts on events.

“Our model is Amazon Prime, which keeps adding benefits,” Slate Editor David Plotz told Kaufman.

In late 2012, Jeff Bercovici reported Slate might be considering a paywall. (The company tried one long ago but didn’t think it worked.) Paywalls “don’t make sense for a site like ours,” Weisberg told me at the time. He did say Slate was looking at a membership model. Read more


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