Nov 1, 2010

Wall extensions at the Daily Journal*, **

The Los Angeles/San Francisco Daily Journal is a model for niche trade publications that want to make money off subscriptions. The legal newspapers is profitable and has a captive audience of judges, lawyers, lobbyists and politicians who want and need to follow the legal industry and its players. A subscription costs a bit more than $700 a year, and the owners have little if any interest in letting cracks appear in the pay wall.

Indeed, as LA Observed learned today, in a memo from Daily Journal editor David Houston, the paper is re-enforcing its walls to make content even more exclusive. From the memo:
I hope you have had a chance to check out our updated website. We're still ironing out kinks so let me know if you see anything funky.

Subscribers are no longer able to email a story. We are also no longer sending out a daily headlines email. If you get calls about this refer them to me.
As a former writer at the Daily Journal and now a producer at a public radio show that often turns to reporters as guests, I can attest to the fact that the pay wall keeps a lot of good work out of the general public's eye. Whether these strict policies are needed to keep the paper in the black, I cannot say, but I've always wondered why the paper doesn't offer a summary of articles to ensure its good work gets noticed.

*The redesigned website seems to emphasize profiles, with news updates on the right (with news about subscriptions leading today's stories). Here's a screen grab:

**Noted: The screen grab shows the website as non-subscribers see it. Only those paying the money can see the layout that includes actual headlines and article summaries. I'm told they continue to get prominent play inside the walls.

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