There have been some interesting comments in the blogpshere today on the new Times website and its upcoming paywall.
The Guardian’s Organgrinder blog thinks the design lacks some imagination, mimicking as it does a braodsheet newspaper, but is impressed with the functionality and digital tools:
Overall, the Times site makes a very accomplished effort at bringing the style and symbolism of the paper on to a screen without sacrificing the breadth and depth of information that readers expect from web pages, and the Sunday Times one is an interesting stab at displaying the vast wealth and diversity of all those supplements. Whether they’re beautiful enough to pay for is, of course, another issue.
Over at the Thoroughly Good blog the mood is more contemplative, pondering the paywall model and musing about the attractiveness of reading newspapers on the iPad on the way to work, before reaching the conclusion that it’s all part of a media conspiracy:
…the Times paywall isn’t just about reeducating a generation, redefining the rules of the internet or necessarily about investing money back into quality journalism.It might be all of these things. Who knows.
But first and foremost this is about one hand washing the other. Two – or maybe three – media giants riding on each other’s coat tails.
Suddenly ignorance is a considerably more attractive option. Because as grumpy a nearly-middle-aged man as I am, I am not about to commit even more money I haven’t got to a device I don’t need just because I’m swayed by how lovely a redesigned website will look on that new device.
Adam Tinworth meanwhile argues that while News International may lose traffic and exclude many from commenting on pieces, for those who subscribe the benefits of joining an exclusive online community may be great:
…what News International are actually trying to create is, in essence, a private members’ club. There will be a limited number of people joining in on discussion, largely around content. People sharing what they think will be identifiable, and they will have paid an entrance fee to get in there. This is, in fact, a community model, just one that differs from the wide, inter-connected community model we’re used to on the open web.
Now, if this is what The Times is attempting, it’s a very interesting experiment, and one that I’ll be watching with a great deal of interest.