I am pleased to see that I am wrong about newsrooms with paywalls or a print focus adding staff:
- The Orange County Register is expanding with its print-first focus, Nieman Lab reports.
- Josh Awtry, editor of the Coloradoan in Fort Collins, Colo., told me in an exchange of Facebook messages that he has added 2.5 reporters as part of the Gannett newspaper’s paywall strategy: “It’s tough to say exactly which positions were new and which were restructured, since it was in conjunction with a huge staff org chart rebuild. In the end, though, we increased net funding by 2.5 positions (that we funneled into reporter jobs) as a measure of wanting to show readers that, if we were going to demand premium prices, we were serious about providing a premium set of products.”
In my post about Dean Starkman’s views on the Digital First strategy, I said I was not aware of such hiring. I’m glad to see that some of these newsrooms are hiring. I remain skeptical that either a print-first approach or a paywall will be successful strategies over the long term. But I’m always glad to see news organizations investing in journalists and good journalism. I wish them both prosperity.
Also, Mathew Ingram of GigaOm continues the discussion of Starkman’s insistence that paywalls somehow provide stronger incentives for quality, noting that he “selects evidence that supports that argument and ignores any that contradicts it.”