Columbia Missourian's new survey pay model

Jun 6, 2014

Credit Marcus Qwertyus / Wikimedia Commons

  The Columbia Missourian announced it is dropping its paywall revenue model, replacing it with a new survey model. Readers will be able to access content -- and share it on social media -- after taking a short Google survey. Missouri School of Journalism faculty Amy Simons, Lynda Kraxberger and Jim Flink discuss the issue.

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In a column to Missourian readers, Executive Editor Tom Warhover explained how the survey system works. Each survey is one or two questions and will take readers less than 15 seconds to complete. The paper will be paid five cents for each survey completed.

Warhover said the paper is changing its previous paywall model because "it didn't work."

You read something, got excited and wanted to share it with your friends on Facebook or email. But those friends couldn’t access the article because the 24-hour period had expired. The system ran up against the way news flows organically across networks of people and institutions.

Jim Flink of the Reynold Journalism Institute said sharing stories on social media is an important part of how news organizations interact with their audience.

In this day in age where everyone is carrying around mobile devices, the ability to grab hold of a news story at the time that its happening and get that thing shared is so very important that if you put an impediment in the way of sharing you have now limited your reach, your effectiveness, your megaphone, whatever you want to call it.

In his Missourian article, Warhover said the new survey model is not the final business solution for the paper, but rather a "nice interim step."