A letter from the National Business Review's publisher
The National Business Review is introducing a new paid Subscriber Only Content service to augment its regular news service.
These selected, top stories will be aimed at providing you quality, original, useful material you will not read anywhere else. And they will be relevant to you as a time-poor business person. They will add a new quality dimension to business reporting in New Zealand.
We will be offering you an introductory subscription rate for access to this exclusive content for $89 (normal rate $149). This will allow you automatic access to all Subscriber Only Content for the next six months. The cost is a little more than 80c a day and I promise you it will be one investment you won’t regret.
I expect about 20 per cent of our web news to be Subscriber Only Content. The exact ratio will vary as we will be using the category for only the best news stories, scoops and commentary pieces that we post on any one day. Besides the serious issues of the moment the content will include large doses of satire and goings on uncovered by our nosey Private Bin reporters.
As you know, there has been endless discussion for a number of years about the crazy model adopted by newspapers in most parts of the free world in which they pay the enormous costs of running professional newsrooms only to give their content away free – while at the same time slashing newsroom numbers to save money as circulation and advertising revenues fall.
And to add to the madness it has been the aggregators that have profited the most from the supply of that free news copy. Worse still the model has spawned a huge band of amateur, untrained, unqualified bloggers who have swarmed over the internet pouring out columns of unsubstantiated “facts” and hysterical opinion.
Most of these “citizen journalists” don’t have access to decision makers and are infamous for their biased and inaccurate reporting on almost any subject under the sun (while invariably criticising professional news coverage whose original material they depend on to base their diatribes).
It is only a matter of time before the model collapses. The alternative is newsrooms decimated to the point of processing public relations handouts or unedited government propaganda from their fully staffed team of spin doctors.
Overseas the Wall Street Journal and The Australian Financial Review have successfully instigated subscriber paid policies for premium content and legendary publisher Rupert Murdoch has promised the days of the internet’s “free lunch” news service from his newspapers is about to end.
Our move to Subscriber Only Content has been driven by our belief that laying off journalists as a cost-cutting tactic is a route to oblivion for newspapers. I know there have been previous attempts by New Zealand publishers to charge for their news and these have failed and left them so far scared to attempt new initiatives.
What we will be introducing will not make the mistake of providing journalism as usual and charging for it. We know that we will have to provide a consistently superior news service and I believe you will quickly see we are up to the challenge.
We are at a tipping point in The Great New Journalism Adventure. I hope you will join us in creating a bit of history and subscribe.
P.S. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Old journos like me always over write. We get a bit carried away. When I started out pages were on paper and had an end to them. And thanks too for visiting our home page. Please tell your friends how good it is.