So here we have it folks, two competing visions of the future of the print media news business. For those that have no clue what I am talking about you can catch up with past coverage of the print media industry in particular and the media business in general (in no particular order) here, here, here, here, here and here. The bottom line is we have Steve Newhouse and the Newhouse family in one corner giving the news away for free and the New York Times and the rest of the industry in the other corner with “soft paywalls”. Those that have followed my musings on the business side of the equation understand that I’m thinking that Free > Soft Paywalls. Now a year plus into the great experiment we’re getting some comps so here is a two pack from the Poynter Institute:
Gannett earnings report hints at a coming problem with paywalls ~ Rick Edmonds
Time Inc. CEO: Layoffs, big organizational changes coming today ~ Andrew Beaujon
The secret? Next time you hit the limit on a soft paywall site go to history and clear your cookie cache. From then on open your browser and hit “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “N” (Chrome) or “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “P” (Internet Explorer) before reading the news. At the Oxford American Media Symposium (sponsored by the good folks at the Preservation Resource Center) that I attended, around 60% of the audience knew that trick when we were polled.
That said I absolutely disagree with Jill Kennedy over at On Medea who wrote last fall that Journalism is Dead. Journalism will never die though many of the companies in the Journalism biz are indeed dead men walking.