Recognizing an always-on political news cycle demands immediate updates, the New York Times says its updated its campaign finance API to make updates in real time. This will give them (and other apps using this Application Programming Interface, which allows outside app developers to retrieve the data collected) access to information significantly quicker than prior incarnations.
The API, which initially launched during the 2008 presidential election, previously updated every other week. In some cases, some data updated daily, according to a post about the upgrade from NYT developer Derek Willis. Now, the updates happen within minutes after the FEC receives them (updated every 15 minutes). Read more
R.I.P. unlimited free online news. Possibly for real this time (at least from newspapers). The nation’s largest newspaper chain is said to be planning a roll out of its paid model by the end of this year.
Forbes is reporting Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper chain, which controls more than 80 newspapers around the country from small community papers to USA Today, apparently has plans to switch over its community papers to a tiered pay model this year. (One notable exception: USA Today.) The switch to a tiered paywall — where the first few stories per month are free — comes amid a renewed emphasis on digital-first news gathering, which has included handing out thousands of iPhones and iPads to news staffers at various properties.
Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, is planning to switch over all of its 80 community newspapers to a paid model by the end of the year, it announced during an investor day held in Manhattan Wednesday.
“We will begin to restrict some access to non-subscribers,” said Bob Dickey, president of community publishing. The model is similar to the metered system adopted by The New York Times a year ago, in which online readers are able to view a limited number of pages for free each month. That quota will be between five and 15 articles, depending on the paper, said Dickey. Six Gannett papers already have a digital pay regimen in place.
This news is hardly unexpected. Not only are other major newspapers and outlets heading in this direction, but Gannett itself has been toying with this model at some of its properties for some time and started actively testing this tiered model this month.
News websites update dozens, if not hundreds, of times per day as news develops and breaks. Multiply those changes by a year, and you get a feel for how the news tide ebbs and flows. But unlike the front pages of the stacks of newspapers collecting dust in morgues, it’s hard to really review the news that rolled in over a website.
[A]s a rule of thumb no one is storing their frontpage layout data. It’s all gone, and once newspapers shutter their physical distribution operations I get this feeling that we’re no longer going to have a comprehensive archive of how our news-sources of note looked on a daily basis. Archive.org comes close, but there are too many gaps to my liking.
This, in my humble opinion, is a tragedy because in many ways our frontpages are summaries of our perspectives and our preconceptions. They store what we thought was important, in a way that is easy and quick to parse and extremely valuable for any future generations wishing to study our time period.
I may be dating myself here, but I remember when Twitter didn’t automatically link @usernames and when #hashtag was a workaround to make disjointed streams of updates easier to find in their clunky search engine.
Well, Twitter has done a good job of integrating those ideas of its users to make the service what it is today. Why shouldn’t news organizations do the same and take the best ideas from their readers and viewers? One great way to gather their feedback and ideas is to integrate hashtags into your coverage. Here’s a few tips on doing that:
1. Have a standard hashtag for your news organization’s daily coverage. It could be #nyt or #cnntv or it could #[city]news or whatever it is (shorter is better) that is easy to remember and relatively easy for Twitter users to identify. Make sure it’s not already in use by someone else — unless they’re talking about your content. Don’t re-invent the wheel: If your community is already using a hashtag to link to your work, latch on and adopt it! Refer to this often in on air, in print and online so people start to associate that hashtag with your brand and your content. Encourage readers to use this tag when they mention your stories or when they have reaction to, questions about or tips for your coverage. Ask your reporters and staff to include the tag on their updates. That way, there is one stream of information you can send readers to for on-going updates without having to follow dozens or more accounts. The top news should make it there, and user story suggestions get that tag. Read more
Today, The New York Times announced details of its new paywall, which hits Canada today and everyone else March 28. Print subscribers will get access with their subscription, but for the rest of the online community, perusing the Grey Lady’s content could cost you if you’re a regular reader (i.e. more than 20 stories per month).
There are, of course, workarounds and ways to game a paywall system, and they will be working out the kinks. (This isn’t, after all, NYT.com’s first foray into charging for online access). But on first glance, it appears the NYT is taking a middle of the road approach that will allow the casual reader to surf in and read their content without disruption, while gaining revenue from the daily and heavy readers who stick around. Whether this renewed attempt at a paywall works and actually succeeds at convincing people to change their mood about paying for online content or not will be watched closely as more papers and chains nationwide look for ways to recover their news-producing costs.
Read on to see how this new paywall stacks up to two other large newspapers with paywalls in place, the Wall Street Journal and Newsday.
To see that spreadsheet full size, click here. Or read the same information below.