The Wall

Wipe your arse on it? There's not an app for that.

I see that the Express & Star have finally jumped the shark. They’re introducing a paywall, so that most of their online daily content is subscriber only. In short, there’s very little on their website that you’ll be able to read for free. This is a bold decision, by which I’m more than a little perplexed, to be frank. It’s possibly one of the most customer hostile things I think they’ve ever done.

I buy the paper every day, and I have it delivered from my local newsagent. I will now be prevented from accessing the online content of a newspaper I’ve paid for because I don’t have an online subscription with the Express & Star itself. Were I to set one up, I could have the paper delivered at home still, but the Express & Star gets the money upfront instead, and the newsagent loses out in terms of cash flow and delivery charges. What have the Midlands largest newspaper got against my newsagent?

Since the online content of the paper has never really extended to the Walsall edition, I assume the one online would be the Wolverhapton version. I presume the daily news feed will be the same mixture of 70% PA syndicated articles and 30% locally generated content as it is now, which to be quite honest, is piss-poor, whatever application you choose to wrap it up in.

For a newspaper that often displays quite interesting attitudes to where it finds it’s content, having also displayed some rather controversial journalistic interpretations, it’s going to have to improve by some magnitude before it’s worth switching to an online subscription option.

I’ll be curious to see how the venture fairs. With good local sites like WV11, The Lichfield Blog and a host of others kicking the local inkie’s backside all over town, both in terms of content and journalistic standards, it’s going to be a hard sell. Even harder in the light of the fact that the likes of The Birmingham Mail and The BBC have decided to embrace, rather than eschew, the local newshounds. Of course, the Express & Star doesn’t reject us, especially when it comes to sourcing stories. It’s just handing out the credit that makes them choke.

I always thought the Express & Star had a much higher opinion of itself than it warranted, it’s interesting to have that premise confirmed.

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6 Responses to The Wall

  1. Roger Jones says:

    A close reading of the article on page 8 of today’s E&S indicates that the newsagent may still charge for delivery.
    Online subscribers will get access to all geographical editions, not just the Wolverhampton edition (website FAQs).

  2. Maybe, but it’s still denying him cashflow.

    The local editions may well be available in the scanned form, but do the local stories make it to the RSS feed? I very much doubt it.

    Best wishes


  3. stymaster says:

    Certainly there’s reduced Walsall content on the old E+S site- some stories only appeared on paper.

    I really can’t see many people taking this up- The E+S is mostly regurgitated national stories, and content pulled straight from the web: I buy the paper (and like Bob, have it delivered) to have something to browse through each night without having to go online- I rarely find out anything new from it.

  4. IAN PAYNE says:

    How sad – a nail in the coffin of free speech. I certainly wouldn’t subscribe to the E&S on-line.

    Perhaps E&S should do the democratic thing and have a vote of its readers first.

    The Times did the same and I just gave up reading it full stop and went over to Telegraph !!

  5. Kipping says:

    Why worry? last week they announced to the World that the Principal of Walsall College was leaving to move to New College Nottinham – the article was illustrated with a lovely photograph… of the old College building . E&S incompetence at its best!

  6. I noticed that on twitter, took the piss out of them and 18 hours later they changed it, saying it was a stock image or somesuch, but it just shoes the crass lack of local awareness of the editorial team.
    Best wishes


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