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Digital trends in the New Year

As the media industry continues to evolve with the changing times, paywalls and digital-first strategies continue to be a part of the new dynamic landscape. Since inVocus has covered both models at length, here’s an update on who’s the newest to get on board with the digital future.

  • Sensationalist former tabloid newspaper the Weekly World News is following in the footsteps of the New York Times and other big-name papers and is planning to go behind a paywall, several sources have reported. The paper, which went online-only in 2009, is known for sporting sensational headlines that could include sightings of Big Foot, the invasion of aliens or the adventures of Bat Boy. According to Mashable.com, the paper is using the services of MediaPass to erect a paywall and will charge $3.95 a month for a year’s subscription.
  • Following a college newspaper trend toward going digital, Florida’s A&M University has started publishing strictly online after school officials ordered student newspaper staff to halt printing The Famuan, reported Poynter.org. In an effort to keep providing news, the paper’s staff has launched an online presence called Ink and Fangs. According to Tallhassee.com, the school was slapped with a libel suit when the paper incorrectly reported the names of students involved in a recent hazing death, one of which was innocent. The paper made a correction, but the suit is still active. The paper is reportedly allowed to start printing again starting Jan. 30, but staff members will have to reapply for their positions.
  • In line with Journal Register Company’s digital mantra, the Washington Times has announced it is planning on going digital-first this year. But don’t say goodbye to the print edition yet. Executive Editor David Jackson said in a memo that the paper will continue to print five days a week and the website will undergo a redesign instead. The site will reportedly feature blogs, interactive charts and graphics, as well as columns from Libertarian viewpoints, tea party opinions and young conservatives. Meanwhile, local coverage will be put into a national context for national readers, while the paper will specialize in stories surrounding national security and defense. Jackson also promised to amp up social media initiatives while embracing new technologies.
  • In what may be a first, blogger Andrew Sullivan had decided to take his blog, The Daily Dish, behind a paywall. Currently living on the Daily Beast, the Dish will only be available to those who pay the $19.99 yearly fee starting Feb. 1. According to Mashable.com, most of the site will follow a metered model and will offer a number of stories for free, while content can be accessed through links on other blogs and social media. Content such as Sullivan’s View from Your Window, however, will be restricted to paying readers. In his announcement on the Daily Beast, Sullivan noted the future may hold a monthly tablet magazine if all goes well. As of Jan. 3, Sullivan tweeted the blog had accrued 12,000 paid subscribers in 24 hours.

Given that it’s only January and a blog is now going behind a paywall, it looks as if 2013 will be the bearer of interesting twists to old trends and more in the manner of the digital evolution.

–Katrina M. Mendolera

 

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