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Archive for April 26th, 2013

I am no less tired of paywall arguments than I was when I sort of swore off them for a while in December. But I agreed to be on a paywall panel tomorrow at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. So maybe it’s time to update my observations about paywalls.

My basic view about paywalls hasn’t changed since I wrote any of the pieces I cite at the end of this post. All those pieces and this one come down to this: The potential revenue paywalls will yield isn’t worth the damage they cause. And they cause twofold damage:

  1. They divert energy and investment from development of forward-looking revenue streams with far greater potential.
  2. They limit your audience, especially among the young adults on which any business of the future must be based.

My update is simply to share some new information that underscores (again) those points. But I’ll add this point in the international context: I don’t pretend to understand the market dynamics or cultural factors that might influence the success of paywalls in other nations. My views apply strongly to the U.S. market and culture and to a large extent as well to the Canadian market and culture. My experience and expertise beyond those countries is minimal.

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I will be discussing ethical aggregation today at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

Many of the points I make will be from my earlier blog posts on aggregation and curation. Here are the slides (with Italian translations from Google). I will later add some tweets from the discussion. You can follow this and other festival sessions on the #ijf13 hashtag.

Update: I’m told Google doesn’t translate “bad rap” well. At least I prefaced my translated slides by saying that they probably would have a funny translation or two.

If you want the slides just in English, here are the slides I used for a similar discussion at the ACES conference in St. Louis earlier this month:

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Jill Abramson, photo linked from New York Times

Because I was attending the International Journalism Festival when Dylan Byers published his click-bait piece “Jill Abramson loses the newsroom” on Politico, I initially intended to respond just with disapproving tweets.

Then Emily Bell slammed the piece for its sexist tone better than I could have. And I initially thought I’d respond just with approving tweets.

After all, I don’t know Jill Abramson. And she doesn’t need me to defend her (great response from her, cited in Huffington Post). I had no idea whether the story was true or not, though I had serious doubts because it relied heavily on unnamed and unaccountable sources. But as I considered it, I thought that a male voice, a former editor who might have supposedly “lost” a newsroom, might have some value and I started pondering a post.

Then I heard Aron Pilhofer tell an Abramson story at the festival and I decided I’d better blog about this.

Most of the editors I’ve worked for have been men. That’s probably true of most people in the news business because the vast majority of editors are men. While women have made strides, men still dominate in newsroom leadership.

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