Tag Archives: Honolulu Civil Beat

Mashable: How paywalls are changing social media strategies

Mashable has taken a look at three paywalled sites: the Dallas Morning News, the Economist and the Honolulu Civil Beat.

It has talked to community editors on the titles about how they promote stories via social media without incurring the wrath of angry readers who follow links to then find they are blocked by a paywall.

Dallas Morning News

Travis Hudson, a Dallas Morning News web editor, manages the site’s Twitter account and Facebook fan page, where he shares both free and premium content.

Like any good social media strategist, transparency is key for Hudson.

He designates whether a link is behind the paywall when posting it on Facebook or Twitter.

The Economist

Social media helps the site reach subscribers, regular readers and new readers by the means most convenient to them, while providing an opportunity to spark discussions around the Economist’s coverage areas.

“Readers who are empowered to participate are likely to spend more time with the site, return more often and become more active advocates of our work,” [Mark Johnson, The Economist’s community editor] says.

With the metered model, Johnson and other web producers can share any articles on social networks without experiencing the backlash of readers’ inability to access the site. Perhaps more importantly, they’re able to bring in more traffic.

“Referrals to the site from social networks, and the pageviews generated by such referrals, have grown almost every month since our social strategy began,” Johnson says. “Nor is this growth slowing. If anything, it’s speeding up.”

Honolulu Civil Beat

Online-only local news site the Honolulu Civil Beat is coming up on the one-year anniversary of its launch.

Though content is and always has been free through email, the site initially gave only partial access to visitors who came through social networks.

Beginning January 2011, however, all visitors can read all articles until they visit regularly enough to be asked to become a member.

“We figured, if they’re reading us that much they would be happy to become a member, and we’d be happy to have them,” says Dan Zelikman, the Civil Beat‘s marketing and community host.

There is no specific threshold number. Rather, the site runs a custom program that asks a reader to subscribe based on how often and how much he or she reads.

“Basically, if you read a couple of times a week, it will take a while before we ask you to register,” Zelikman says.

Reading access aside, the Civil Beat’s subscription model fosters community by only allowing members to comment on articles. In addition, subscribers experience the site without advertising, a perk that’s particularly popular with the community.

Mashable’s full article is at this link.

Honolulu Civil Beat: “A new approach to journalism,” says editor

Honolulu Civil Beat will have ‘reporter-hosts’, ‘peer news’ and is designed as a ‘civic square’ for Hawaii; what’s more it has soft-launched without any stories.

It has also introduced a payment plan from the start: $19.99 per month for full access to articles, although currently reduced to $4.99.

Oh, and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is its CEO and publisher.

It launches proper on 4 May.

Its editor John Temple says, to first users:

How will we do this to best serve you? First, you’ll be part of the process. You might have noticed that we’ve opened the doors to this new civic square without putting up any news articles. That’s different – a news service without news, at least initially. It’s intentional. We want to begin by talking with you about what we’re doing, to hear what you want from us and what you think we should be asking. We believe conversation and civil debate with our reporter-hosts and with other members is central to what will make Civil Beat valuable. And we want you to see that the core of our service isn’t the article itself. Of course, incisive news reporting soon will be an important part of what we offer. But at the heart of our service are pages dedicated to providing you context and understanding about the issues you need to know about. These “topic pages” are living pages. They’ll grow over time, with your help. We know you’re busy and that our job is to help make it easy for you to learn about and truly understand what’s going on, and what you might be able to do about it. With our approach, you should be able to find the background you need when you want it, without having to surf thousands of pages of documents or make numerous phone calls to unearth what should be readily available to you.

Full post at this link…