USA Today Publisher: Paper Not “Unique Enough” For Paywall
Despite paywalls popping up across other national newspapers and on
smaller regional papers, including those owned by Gannett, Larry
Kramer, the president and publisher of Gannett’s
flagship USA Today, said today not
to expect his paper to follow suit anytime soon. His explanation? The
product isn’t “unique enough” at this point to charge for
Wrap has some additional background on his comments and the conversation
today during Business Insider’s Ignition conference, but here’s the gist from Fishbowl
don’t want to charge [online] for USA Today right now, I don’t think it is the
right thing to do, and there is so much national news out there,” Kramer said.
“I think we would lose more than we would
Kramer also talked about efforts he has taken to change the business
and culture of the Gannett paper since taking over as publisher in
“The best of our work had been in the newspaper, and I had to change
the structure of the staff so they were producing for the digital platform
first, and then the newspaper,” Kramer said.
It’s an interesting and refreshingly honest appraisal of the type of
content its staff produces for the site, which had
262 million page views in May 2011, according to USAToday.com presskit (that
number likely has grown in the past year and a half, though I don’t know how the
recent redesign affected readership/page view counts). As Kramer said in his
conversation, local news outlets take the advantage in this because they produce
original news you can’t get elsewhere or no one else is covering.