Mode of publishing – Week 3

Online publishing has quickly become a popular alternative to physical materials. This particular mode of publishing provides consumers with convenience and accessibility and also broadens the community of audiences publishers can communicate with.

A paywall refers to a system which prevents online users from accessing and engaging with online content without paid subscription. This means users must pay a certain amount, may be by weekly, monthly or annually, in order to access and read news material online.

Accroding to ‘Salmon’, he compares the paywall systems taken on board by the New York Times and other newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. By doing so, he explains how and why the paywall system of the NYT is more successful and efficient than that of the WSJ or the FT.

Salmon argues that the Times pay wall is porous, it is easy to get around however that’s the whole reason he believes it is successful. “It allows anybody, anywhere, to read any NYT article they like. That makes the NYT open and inviting — and means that I continue to be very happy to link to NYT stories”.

Salmon also points out that if people value and appreciate something, they are more likely to be happy to pay for it. Additionally, the Times trusts its readers so if they value what they are getting from the NYT, they will pay for it.

In contrast, Salmon states that the paywall system of the WSJ and the FT take a hard pay wall approach because they treat their readers with mistrust. Also, the WSJ and the FT have a defensive paywall system, “…fearing that if their readers can get their content for free, then they won’t pay”.

The different online paywall systems initiated by the NYT, the WSJ and the FT serve as interesting business models for future online published content. By exploring these different paywalls systems, we are able to distinguish models that work from the ones that don’t.

Moreover, Salmon’s article proposes that if you give people a sample of something free that is a good experience for them then eventually they will pay for the subscription. He uses the Indianapolis Museum of Art as an example. The Museum moved from a free admission policy to a paid one and their paid membership increased by 3%. Same with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts whose membership increased by 33%.

In conclusion, I would rather pay all those news subscription fees all over again instead of scrolling those tiny little pictures and reading those teensy words online.


Salmon, Felix (2011) ‘How The New York Times Paywall is Working’, Wired, August 14, <>

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