It appears that the traditional appearance of the newspapers is about to change as they continue their move towards the modern method; online that is. The latest one comes from the Wall Street Journal that presently has a strict policy on keeping most of its stories for paying members alone now plans to introduce social element to its site.
The new layout will enable non-paying users to read ad-supported content and will be displayed a different homepage compared to those who pay for subscription. The WSJ plans at launching the ‘Journal Community’; pretty much like any other social network. Here the subscribers will be able to create their personal profiles; carrying their images, job details and interests.
This opens up discussion groups over particular stories, commenting and getting tips and advices about initiating minor business from the professionals and like minded in the field.
The present action has been taken to boost audience for the WSJ that has rocketed to almost twice of what it was in July last year (2.4 million); the numbers climbing to a mammoth 4.7 million. The interesting fact here is that only 5% of the entire visitors are paid subscribers.
The positive side to this is primarily a fact that such a community will offer knitting up of various experts in their respective fields to get up close and share their point of views. Alan Murray, deputy managing editor comments at this by saying:
There’s no technology here that you can’t get at other places. What we have that you can’t get anywhere else is the Journal community, the Journal subscriber base.
The users, when they open are displayed the public content; from their paid subscribers can log in with their accounts and if you aren’t you have limited access to certain stories. How does one know which content is meant only for those who pay for subscription? Users, when they move across content that isn’t free, see a key, this key indicates that only subscribers have the access to this piece of information.
With the site efficiently designed to direct searches to stories that are searched for; the introduction of a tabbed look would very well ease the task of looking out for videos, images, articles etc. So what WSJ is actually trying to pull off here is to offer users something different, its not just copying the entire social network thing; i.e. no hot or not applications etc. It’s more like a social network minus the fun side.
I bet the new layout would definitely help out readers for not everyone’s going to pay for a subscription for reading news online, when it can be accessed at some other place. WSJ has made a smart move to direct the users towards itself with the free side of its paper.