- Isle of Man Newspapers’ parent introduces paywall
- Study shows PRs are not liars
- How do the news media work?
Johnston Press, parent company to the Isle of Man Newspapers, is introducing subscriptions fees on their websites in a pilot scheme starting next week.
The Worksop Guardian, Ripley & Heanor News, Northumberland Gazette, Whitby Gazette (all in England), and the Southern Reporter and Carrick Gazette (in Scotland) will restrict access to non-subscribers, in an attempt to create revenues from their websites.
The papers will allow access to the homepage of each paper, but stories away from the main page will require a subscription of £5 for a three month trial. Johnston Press says it will review whether to extend the scheme past this date and to other sites depending on the pilot’s success. So far, there has been no announcement concerning the Isle of Man Examiner, Manx Independent or the Isle of Man Courier.
Rupert Murdoch has been threatening to do much the same with the web content published by his news companies around the world. It’s already been introduced at the Wall Street Journal.
Will it work? I do hope so. I hate to think about the news media and publishing companies being on their knees, unable to attract advertisers or to sell hard copy newspapers.
But local and regional newspapers are going to have to raise their game if this going to work. People are not going to part with hard cash for cheque presentation stories or for information they can get free elsewhere. They will pay for quality reporting and exclusive content.
The eyes of the news media industry will be on Johnston Press to see how this pilot plays out. If it works, we’ll see a bunch of publishers introducing the paid subscription model before long.
January was a particularly busy month for me, what with one week’s hols, one week in London at a trade show and one week caught up with family business, I’m still trying to grasp that it’s February already.
And it’s really good. It gives readers and insight into the workings of the newsroom and explains what goes into publishing a newspaper three times a week. Check it out here.
And Richard, welcome to the IoM blogosphere!
I’ve been to dozens of awards dinners over the years and on the whole they are generally either very tedious affairs or very boozy parties, depending on whether you’ve won an award.
Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Awards for Excellence gala in Douglas, Isle of Man. This was not your run of the mill awards ceremony. In true Manx style, Isle of Man Newspapers made their event a real fun night out. It didn’t matter if you were a winner or not, you were glad to be there.
From having the event compered by Graham Davies, known as one of the funniest men in Britain, to the fabulous multi-media show by Paul Moulton to Geoff Corkish’s song, to the dancing ladies in skimpy costumes to the surprise performance by Robin Gibb there was something for everyone. And the event was broadcast live online so if you didn’t make it to the Gaiety Theater, you could still enjoy the show from anywhere.
Oh yeah…a lot of people from the public, private and not for profit sectors picked up awards too. Well done to Trudi Williamson and her team at Isle fo Man Newspapers.
Last evening, after a pretty trying day, I spoiled myself by sitting down in a quiet room and reading the newspaper. For someone who usually only finds time to scan a website, it was a real treat. The Isle of Man Examiner is still published as a broadsheet, and I spread the pages out and thoroughly enjoyed myself as I ruffled and turned them and took in stories of every description from all over the Island.
You don’t often get to see a 36 point headline on a website. You miss many of the colour stories and much of the comment, With search you see only what you are looking for and inevitably you miss out on a lot. You don’t get to see how the editor has organised the page to give prominence to one story or another; you rarely look outside your own world. And for all the crowing I do about the long tail and the future of online, this is surely a great weakness of this media.
The people at the Isle of Man Newspapers tread a fine line in reporting on a community of which they are an important part. Each week, three times a week, they publish news, information and opinion of interest to the whole of the community and at the same time they carry enough specialist information to satisfy most individuals on the Island.
You can’t please all of the people all of the time, it’s true. But I think on the whole, Isle of Man newspapers usually gets its story mix right. News publishing is a tough, increasingly competitive business and much respect is due to professionals at our newspaper for their efforts in reflecting our community.
At the very least, I thank them for providing me an enjoyable read last night.
Full disclosure: I write a weekly column, Tech Talk, in the Isle of Man Examiner. This comment does not relate to my own copy. (I’d already read that!) 🙂