I’d like to start by saying my heart goes out to the victims of the horrific Boston Marathon and their families. Having said that I read with interest that The New York Times, Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal took down their paywalls during this crisis and moreover many reporters were reporting on Twitter without linking to any content on their sites.
The challenge paid and many other media outlets face is obvious… They need to master social media while also getting readers to pay for their news and/or visit their websites for more information.
Of course there is the ability to give away a great deal of free content on Twitter and other social sites in order to get many followers who can be then directed to special subscription offers.
Perhaps the ideal scenario is a social model which shares revenue with publishers. For example, YouTube allows content creators to share in the proceeds of the ad sales from the content they create. Twitter and Facebook will probably want to consider a similar strategy.
Then again, these two social sites are so popular they may not need to change a single thing in order to keep the growth of their sites going. This of course means media companies will have to adhere to guidelines to ensure they don’t tweet away news which someone would consider paying for. Ron Matejko at Publishing Executive has more and is especially irritated at media sites which drop paywalls when these sites have news which readers need most.