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An insider’s view on why people pay for NYT journalism

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World News Publishing Focus
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An insider’s view on why people pay for NYT journalism

Spanish version available here

In a speech delivered in Bogota last week, subsequently published on Medium, Lydia Polgreen, Editorial Director & Associate Masthead Editor at NYT Global, told how the publication, which has had a paywall since 2011, managed to build and maintain a loyal readership willing to pay for quality journalism.

“As someone who cares deeply about independent journalism, I love the idea that our most important financial relationship is with the reader, not the advertiser," Polgreen wrote. "It clarifies our mission and helps us make tough choices about how to spend our precious editorial resources."  

A mission that is not easy in a world where the fruits our labour are no longer just enjoyed by our own organisations. Polgreen cited as evidence her coverage of Nelson Mandela’s funeral, which got more page views on the Huffington Post than on NYT's own pages, despite the fact that The Times paid her salary and living costs to be based in South Africa.


Lydia Polgreen will share more details at WAN-IFRA’s 23rd World Editors Forum in Cartagena, Colombia, this June about global journalism at the New York Times in a session on next level engagement.


The new dynamics in the digital over-connected world are not a bad thing, Polgreen argued. “We tend to focus on what we, as publishers and gatekeepers, have lost. But we forget to celebrate what our customer, the news consumer, has gained.” She knows, from living in her native Ghana, what it’s like to be completely disconnected from the outside world. She sees the connected world as a positive change:

Even Facebook, making a lot of money on content created - and paid for - by news organisations, should be used to publishers’ advantage according to Polgreen. "I believe that we are better off as Facebook’s happy customer than as its outgunned competitor in a David and Goliath fight for advertising dollars."

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2016-05-11 13:52

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The World Editors Forum is the organisation within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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