The New York Times has made subtle changes to the structure of their leadership in response to the growing number of online readers and, inversely, their decreasing print readership. In May, The Times terminated the public editor position as the newspaper seeks to shift more of their resources and attention toward online feedback and comments.
Most newspaper publications have made similar changes, and The Washington Post had also ended the public editor position in 2013. The 2020 Group, a team of seven Times journalists who evaluated the future of The Times and print journalism as a whole, summarized their future plans in a recent report.
The report,“Journalism That Stands Apart,” revealed the trend that advertising can no longer support newspapers as much as they did in the past. It’s much cheaper to purchase advertising space on the Internet as opposed to on a physical form. Digital subscriptions have therefore become the backbone of most newspaper publications nowadays. The Washington Post has proved the method can be lucrative.Despite being a privately traded company, The Post has alluded that digital subscription revenue has reached nine figures.
The report also concluded that the application of print-based goals aided the newspaper recession. When online news was treated as a pageview race rather than a strategy to drive more subscriptions, this lead to the decrease of print circulation because readers realized they could get the same articles online for free.
The newsroom needs a clearer understanding that pageviews, while a meaningful yardstick, do not equal success. To repeat, The Times is a subscription-first business; it is not trying to maximize pageviews.
— 2020 Group, 2017
The move into the digital era hasn’t been exclusive to nationwide newspapers. Local publications have also begun to support their own CMS sites as well as third-party e-Editions. The latter are digital replicas of the print product, built from PDFs and turned into an interactive format that lives on the newspaper’s website. Dirxion allows customers to lock their e-Editions behind a subscription login, allowing only subscribers to access the print pages. The e-Edition navigation features, such as custom table of contents, thumbnail page images and cross-reference linking, ensure that the e-Editions are easy to read and use.