Guardian Tries CwF+RtB, While Experimenting With Hack Day Event

from the cool-experiments dept

With our upcoming Techdirt Saves* Journalism event to be held June 16th at Google’s offices, we’ve been looking deeper and deeper into stories of newspapers doing interesting things. The Guardian, over in the UK, has been pretty adamant that a paywall is a bad, bad idea, and has, instead, been looking into some more innovative business models. In fact, it recently announced a premium membership program that sounds quite a bit like the whole CwF+RtB formula that we’ve talked about for quite some time — and which (of course) we’ve experimented with ourselves for a while now. Back when the NY Times was exploring options, it also had considered a similar system, but chose to go with a straight paywall instead.

The Guardian’s offering is that you pay £25 per year and you get a variety of scarcities outside of the content of the paper (which remains free). Those scarcities include things like newsroom visits and events involving journalists and editors (i.e., the scarcity of “access”) and other offers as well — such as tickets to various cultural events. Unlike the various paywall efforts out there, none of this is about locking up infinitely copyable content, but about using that content to make scarcities, like access, more valuable and giving people a real reason to buy. It’ll be interesting to see how well it goes. I like the basic idea of it, though I think they could do some more to segment their audiences.

That’s not all The Guardian is doing. At the same time it announced this Guardian Extra program, it also held a “hack day”, where the Guardian asked various media partners to ask for certain tools or features, and folks would try to create them using the Guardian’s open platform. The results (for a quick two day hack event) look pretty impressive. It’s pretty cool to see these sorts of experiments going on in news organizations, rather than the typical “woe is us” complaining.

If you’d like to talk about these ideas and many others (as well as hopefully come up with some new ideas for what news organizations, both new and old, can do going forward), I hope you’ll consider attending our Techdirt Saves* Journalism event. Sign up for here, if you haven’t already:

We look forward to seeing you there.

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Companies: the guardian

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Comments on “Guardian Tries CwF+RtB, While Experimenting With Hack Day Event”

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11 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

it is what it looks like when mike tries to jump in front of another wave. funny that he has called newspapers and journalists buggy whips and buggy whip makers, and now he is out to save them. according to mike, we will have a world where everything we desire will be free, and the only things we will pay for is optional access that few people really want.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

funny that he has called newspapers and journalists buggy whips and buggy whip makers,

I’ve done no such thing, despite your repeated claims that I have.

and now he is out to save them

Again, you should learn to read disclaimers.

according to mike, we will have a world where everything we desire will be free, and the only things we will pay for is optional access that few people really want.

Epic reading comprehension failure on your part. It’s really stunning how purposely wrong you are on an every day basis.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

i just take your ideas to their logical conclusion. newspapers are information. information is free. therefore, newspapers will have no income that isnt generated by doing other things than news. after all, who will want to see news with ads when they can see news without ads on other internet sites?

are you denying that information will be free? are you suggesting that journalists can somehow turn something free into something valuable enough for people to pay for? please, enlighten the class.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

let add this: in your discussions, you often point out that journalists are not useful anymore, as we have citizen journalists, often doing the work for free. there is no need to pay someone to be a professional journalist if everyone around them is willing to do it for nothing, right?

you have also discussed how “dead tree” newspapers are meaningless, and all likely to die. i can think back to discusses had around the closing of the papers in colorado and seattle, i think it was. you were pretty confident back then that all print newspapers were dinosaurs.

the only time you changed your tune is when the *free* london paper started doing well. all of a sudden, you were a big fan of newspapers again (even as they waste a forest of dead trees a day).

your own words is that information wants to be free, internet distribution is infinite and free, and thus, information moves to the net where it can be free.

so which is it? are newspapers dead, or, providing they are *free* they are suddenly great ideas?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

let add this: in your discussions, you often point out that journalists are not useful anymore, as we have citizen journalists, often doing the work for free.

I have NEVER said anything of the sort. In fact, I’ve said the opposite: that journalists are more and more useful, because there’s even more information and data that needs to be dealt with.

I don’t know why you make stuff up so regularly.

there is no need to pay someone to be a professional journalist if everyone around them is willing to do it for nothing, right?

That statement does not reflect reality at all.

you have also discussed how “dead tree” newspapers are meaningless, and all likely to die. i can think back to discusses had around the closing of the papers in colorado and seattle, i think it was. you were pretty confident back then that all print newspapers were dinosaurs.

Find me a citation where I said that. Find it. Really. Go ahead.

Otherwise, stop lying. I have never said that such organizations are going to die out.

In fact, in the post you’re talking about, I said the opposite: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090316/1233254134.shtml I said they were evidence that professional journalism isn’t going to die out.

the only time you changed your tune is when the *free* london paper started doing well. all of a sudden, you were a big fan of newspapers again (even as they waste a forest of dead trees a day).

Again, you totally made up the first part, so that’s totally wrong.

I don’t understand why you lie.

your own words is that information wants to be free, internet distribution is infinite and free, and thus, information moves to the net where it can be free.

I have never said “information wants to be free.” In fact, I recently said the opposite: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100521/1807199537.shtml

Again, you just lie. It’s really silly.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So, GDN gets credit for “innovative business models” by cloning the already successful Times+ loyalty scheme. And running a hack day…

Didn’t say it was “new”, did I? Innovative does not need to be new. Or should we mock you for “cloning” failed paywall business models?

Besides, if the Times has been so successful, why are you now locking everything up behind a paywall?

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