writes in to share a letter Daily Variety
magazine sent to its subscribers, letting them know that it will soon be putting up a paywall, or as it prefers to call it, a "velvet rope".
The reason for the switch is simple: There has been a boom in showbiz coverage, but much of it is hearsay and spin, making it hard for readers to separate rumors from truth. A lot of the "reporting" has become more sensational as many of our online peers have been lured by the notion of bringing in more consumer eyeballs (and, they hope, more ad money). At Variety, we are apologetically focused on people in the industry. Think of the paywall as a velvet rope, allowing you access to stories that have been confirmed by impartial sources and stories that will better inform you about the world you're working in. Denied access behind the rope are items based on gossip, half-truths and anonymous rants.
So it would appear that publications face a choice: put up paywalls, or write about "gossip, half-truths and anonymous rants". It's really not clear what one has to do with the other; after all, Variety
can write about whatever it wants, how it tries to charge for it is a completely separate matter. What's really amusing though, is that Variety is basically trying to dress up its paywall as some guarantee of quality for readers. In essence, it's saying "since we are charging for this, you know it must be good." But when its full letter to subscribers
contains seven typos, it looks like Variety is more interested in having the appearance of quality and authority
than actually having quality content.