New Paywall – Sorry, “Membership Program” – At The Los Angeles Times

The hardworking staff just received this email from the LA Times:

Dear Readers,
We are making an exciting change to latimes.com, and we want you to
be the first to know how we’re evolving.
NEW LOS ANGELES TIMES MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM
On March 5, we’re launching a membership program. If you’re an avid latimes.com
reader, but not currently a home delivery customer, we hope you’ll consider joining for
a nominal fee to get:
Unlimited digital access to all of The Times’ award-winning news and information
Unique storytelling
Investigative reports
In-depth local news
Signature blogs
Compelling photo galleries
Original video content
Revealing data projects and analysis
Membership privileges also include:
Special opportunities at select Times events
Exclusive discounts and deals
Giveaways and contests
If you are already a subscriber, you simply need to follow a few registration steps to
activate your membership at no additional cost. Non-members can continue to browse
The Times online for limited reading and breaking news.
To activate or join on March 5, please visit latimes.com/membership.
As always, the Los Angeles Times is your all-access pass to the news, culture and
happenings that matter. Our high-quality journalism consistently wins the country’s
most prestigious accolades and provides you with the trusted news and information
crucial to navigating and enjoying Southern California. We believe our coverage — from
around the world and right down to your neighborhood — provides perspective and
incomparable value and we appreciate that you do too.

(Yeah, yeah – we know it’s a visual mess. But that’s not our fault. We’re just the messenger.)

More important, check out the language the LAT employs: exciting, evolving, nominal, unique, original and etc.

Reality check via TechCrunch:

The Los Angeles Times reports that The Los Angeles Times will be adopting a paywall (they prefer the term “membership program”) starting March 5th, joining the ranks of other large newspapers hoping to replace plummeting subscription revenues. Readers, naturally, are incensed, though the change was inevitable for such a large newspaper.

Although the move to a paid or at least somehow powerfully monetized online model is going to be critical for the L.A. Times and other major print establishments, it appears that everyone in the industry is still in the “flailing” stage, and hoping that a model rejected and circumvented by readers will somehow work for them as it has (in a way) worked for others.

Accent on in a way. Which is no way out of the newspaper industry’s current dilemma.

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