Instead Of Paying The News Site, Pay The Journalist
Taking the paywall concept in a different direction, a Dutch news site offers its readers the option to subscribe to an individual journalist's "channel" for a small fee.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Dutch news site De Nieuwe Pers -- the online descendant of a free print newspaper that closed its doors a year ago -- offers two monthly payment options for users who want to access its content. There's the standard €4.49 for complete access, or, for a mere €1.79, readers can subscribe to an individual journalist's articles such as those of veteran Arnold Karskens, who says, "People read my stuff because I have a clear, crystallized opinion based on over 32 years of war correspondence. This really works well for journalists with a distinctive character."
What's the Big Idea?
The key to the pay-by-journalist model is the trust and respect readers have for writers like Karskens, says De Niewes Pers editor-in-chief Alain van der Horst: "[P]eople will pay for digital journalistic work...as long as they get value for money." He also believes that this payment method is fairer to the readers than traditional subscriptions because they pay only for the content they want to read. Until the end of this year, journalists will receive all revenues from their "channels"; afterwards, De Niewes Pers will begin collecting a 25 percent commission. So far, 40 percent of all subscriptions to the site have been for individual journalist channels.
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