Content and Paywalls

The big Chicago media news today is that the Sun-Times will now be using a “metered method” for views of their articles. Readers will get 20 free views before they will require a digital subscription, similar to what The New York Times does.

Here’s a potential problem: I dont’t have a reason to go frequently go to the Sun-Times website. The Sun-Times rarely gives me a reason to go to their website and when they do, it’s usually because of something Lynn Sweet, Mary Mitchell or Michael Nagrant wrote.

This is potentially a problem since I’m constantly consuming the media. It could be thought that a problem is the site design, which isn’t that great.

But the website for the Journal Sentinel isn’t stunning either. In fact, the layout is somewhat similar to the Sun-Times.

For the time being, the Tribune does not have a paywall or “metered method” and people could always flock to that for news after they reach those 20 views.

But the thing the Journal Sentinel, which I will mention for a point of comparison since it’s also a local paper that won a Pulitzer this year, has as well as the Tribune are things that enhance the articles, such as videos, applications and interactive graphics. Both the Journal Sentinel and the Tribune have released these in conjunction with investigations and special reports, which makes some stories even more interesting. I have never seen the Sun-Times do this. The Sun-Times never gives a unique visitor experience, which could potentially be a problem with the paywall.

The Sun-Times still does great work and write articles no one else is writing, which could be their benefit. But if they really want to make the paywall work, they need to possibly give their site a redesign or at least provide more content to make readers want to pay for it for other than the occasional column.

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