Global round-up: Guardian launches paid membership program

Global round-up: Guardian launches paid membership program

Guardian launches paid membership program

The Guardian has launched an innovative membership program, which will introduce a tiered member service to readers and see the media company open a “civic space” for events, activities and courses.

The core element of the new program is the civic space, which will be situated near the Guardian’s London office at the 30,000 square foot Midland Goods Shed, which is currently being refurbished for an opening date in 2016.

The founding director of the new civic space, Jonathan Robinson, wrote that the space is being transformed into “an open amphitheater for festivals, acoustic gigs and debate…an armchair cinema, a 3D printing and fabrication lab, a rooftop garden, galleries and a dozen atmospheric spaces hosting events in everything from photojournalism to ceramics, from breaking news to works of fiction.”

At its core, the project is about “re-framing our relationships with our readers,” Mr Robinson said, and creating a “place for our audience to call their own.”

Editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, announced the launch in an editorial and said that the idea for a membership program originated more than two years ago, on the back of a “kind of weekend festival” that the newspaper hosted at its offices in Kings Place, London.

Mr Rusbridger says that in surveys with the approximately 6000 attendees, it was clear that readers wanted more events that initiated debate, ideas and conversations – and were more willing to be “members” of the media company than simply subscribers to its content.

“The idea of a newspaper is changing rapidly,” he said. “Twenty years ago, The Guardian and the Observer were much as they’d always been: printed broadsheets made up of text and pictures.

“The Guardian now exists in moving pictures, in sound, data – and in the response, dialogue and contribution of our readers.

“We have fully embraced the idea of “open” journalism, which knits the best of what we do, with the best of what’s published by others.”

The new program has three distinct membership schemes, which allows readers to become a “friend” of The Guardian for no charge, a “partner” of the company for £135 a year and a “patron” for £540 a year.

Axel Springer in joint venture to launch European Politico

Politico and Axel Springer have joined in a 50-50 venture to launch a European edition of the US online political news site.

The new venture will be based in Brussels and will offer “in-depth coverage of European politics and policy”.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the two media companies will invest money “in the eight figures”, according to people that are familiar with the terms of the deal.

In an internal memo to Politico staff, CEO Jim Vandehei and editor-in-chief John Harris told staff that the partnership “is aimed at exploring journalistic opportunities in Europe and was being set up as a stand-alone enterprise”.

“Axel Springer is a highly impressive, highly ambitious company that shares our obsession with building media companies that produce and can sustain nonpartisan journalistic excellence,” Mr Vandehei and Mr Harris wrote.

“They do about $3.6 billion in annual revenue and house a number of digital start-ups in their Berlin-based offices. We are excited to join forces with them.”

New headquarters for News UK

News Corp has opened its new London headquarters, a 17-story building that will house 3400 employees of Dow Jones, HarperCollins Publishers and News UK, which publishes The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun.

The company purchased a 30-year lease on the new office, which is called The News Building and is based near London Bridge.

London Mayor Boris Johnson – who opened the new building with News Corp executive chairman, Rupert Murdoch and News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson – said that “News UK is now at the heart of a growing, international media hub that is proof of the confidence that leading businesses have in our city.”

Mr Thomson added that the new building would serve as “a platform for the future – a platform on which books will be written, scoops uncovered and the first draft of history will be delivered digitally and in print.”

Around 2400 News UK employees are currently based at The News Building and other News Corp businesses plan on moving to the site in the coming months.

Print readers remember more than online

A study conducted by the University of Houston’s Arthur Santana, a former newspaper reporter, has found that readers that consume news publications in print are more likely to remember what they have read than those reading news online.

The study assesses the difference in user experience when consuming print and online media, and comes to the conclusion that, “print newspapers are a more effective medium than online newspapers at spurring recollection”.

A release from the University of Houston presents some of the study’s findings, and outlines the basic methodology.

“The study’s participants were two groups of college students who were asked to have a news media blackout prior to the experiment,” it says. “Participants were not told that their ability to recall news stories would be tested.

“One group read the print edition of The New York Times while the other group read the same day’s online version. After 20 minutes of reading, participants were asked to note the headlines, general topics and main points of as many stories as they could remember.

“Print readers remembered an average of 4.24 news stories while online readers recalled an average of 3.35 stories, according to the research.”

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