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Journalism Online Volunteers To Help Make People Pay

So when it comes to online content, the best that most papers can devise right now seems to be pay for content. Okay now that they have a solution&#151sort of&#151where do they start the charging? That’s where Journalism Online comes in to help.

Started by three media executives, Steve Brill, Gordon Crovitz, and Leo Hindery, Journalism Online is designed to help companies create and an automated system to charge for all of their content. The system would even include an “all you can read” subscription that would allow access to multiple publications.

The New York Times reports no publishers have signed on yet, but many have taken meetings to find out how the system works.

As the company envisions the system, a nonpaying reader on a magazine or newspaper site would reach a certain point and see a page asking for payment &#151 the Journalism Online system, operating within the publication’s Web site. But a reader who wanted a subscription to multiple sites would go directly to the new company’s own site.

“The most important thing is it’s simple to use,” Mr. Brill said in an interview. “Much of the barrier to charging online is the transaction friction, as opposed to the actual cost. With this system, you’d have a single password, give your credit card number just once.”

He said that for the unlimited subscriptions, “we’re playing with a figure of $15 a month.”

The company is also looking at helping papers negotiate licensing and royalty fees for syndicated articles.

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