Columbia Missourian to drop paywall, move to surveys

Jun 4, 2014


The Columbia Missourian has ended its 24-hour viewing paywall and moved on to a new survey format created through a program by Google.

After hitting a plateau in membership caused by the time sensitive paywall, which blocks readers from accessing stories after they have been on the website for 24 hours, the Missourian has decided to switch to a format that would require readers to answer one or two questions before accessing the stories.

Tom Warhover, executive editor of the Missourian, says the time meter paywall format was a temporary attempt to bring in revenue, but was replaceable if it did not work out.

“The inability to share stories on social media,” Warhover said. “That was a big frustration for folks.”

With the Google survey, anyone can access the news stories. Convergence journalism professor, Amy Simons, believes that the plateau might have been caused by the “habit” of readers expecting to receive their news for free.

“We have seen a little bit of reluctance because news online was free for so long,” Simons said. “That those habits of continuing to expect it for free are still there.”

With each survey that is filled out, Google receives ten cents and the Missourian will receive five cents. Though readers still have to pay to be members, executives at the Missourian hope that the survey format will encourage every-day readers to visit the site more often.

“Anything that we do that gets more people reading our work is a good thing.” Warhover said.