Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hello Paywall ::: GoodBye Readers!

Another US newspaper puts a nail in its own coffin: A decision by the Buffalo News to put content behind a paywall in the fall has already stirred the pot of controversey: "I think that this change provides a unique opportunity for a free daily news entity to be developed in Buffalo, perhaps along the lines of a model called a “Local Media House“. The model relies on a democratized newsroom, technology, mobile site access, good design, experimentation on the web, and strategic partnerships with other media outlets. The print product is a tabloid – not a broadsheet – “content is king, and design is queen”, they say in these Scandinavian outlets, which are doing remarkably well in a quickly changing news landscape."

Author Jeff Jarvis has this to say about the perils of the paywall – the internet is about eyeballs, relationships, interaction, and Googlejuice. (Below is a recent poll conducted by the Albany Times Union online). A paywall does harm to all of those things and imposes a print model on a digital product.
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Because, like the fine publication Tablet, whom I borrowed this concept from, I too am committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing I'm able to provide, all free of charge. I take pride in my loyal readership, and I'm thrilled that you choose to engage with me in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse).

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