It’s been a while since I blogged. I have a good excuse: Been busy with the paradigm shift in local journalism.
In February, WCPO became the first local broadcast news operation (as far as we know) to implement a subscription option. Call it a paywall, if you will. There is a bit of a difference with WCPO Insider, though.
- Most content on WCPO.com remains free. Like what? Read more here
- There is no meter or wall; many visitors to the site may never choose to click on a headline with the plus sign and therefore never encounter premium (paid) content
- We are offering content and more: deals, “bundles” (e.g. a digital subscription to the Washington Post)
WATCH: “There’s always more to the story”
In terms of the role of the community team (myself and two community managers), this initiative has meant answering emails and social media posts that range from angry (News is free! What happened to the free press! I hate you!), to thoughtful (Here’s why I think what you are doing is a bad idea), to technical (How exactly do I subscribe?).
It also means finding ways to put our arms around our members; connect them to what they care about in the community; and, connect them to each other.
I could tell you what we are planning in this regard, but then I would be spoiling the surprise. WCPO Insiders who attended the TEDxCincinnati Main Stage Event, “Vibrant Curiosity,” in October, got a taste of what’s in store, though.
WCPO Insider become the media sponsor of the event, which expressed itself like this:
- We partnered with TEDxCincinnati organizers to offer early access to an annual subscription “bundle,” which included two tickets to the event, and drink tickets and an invite to a WCPO Insider reception before the event.
- Yours truly took part in the auditions as a judge to select potential speakers.
- We created a calendar of editorial content about the event. From August through October, we published stories at WCPO.com. There were also three television stories.
- WCPO news anchor and reporter Chris Riva served as emcee for the event
Check out the TEDxCincinnati Flickr page for photos from “Vibrant Curiosity”
My colleagues tease me, but I can honestly say I felt a bit emotional as the 200+ Insiders and their guests arrived at Cincinnati’s Memorial Hall for “Vibrant Curiosity.”
This is what the intersection of journalism and engagement can look like. It feels very good.
Here are some items you can read about what we’ve been up to:
- Inside Scripps’ WCPO Paywall Gamble (NetNewsCheck.com)
- The newsonomics of Scripps’ TV paywall and the Last Man Standing Theory of local media (NiemanLab.org)
- Cincinnati television station ramps up for premium web content subscription service (Scripps press release)