Democracy Has Prevailed.

September 1, 2009

Members Only: New Post-Gazette Site

As Chris Potter first reported here, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is offering a members-only web site.

From the Post-Gazette:
At midnight tonight, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will launch PG+, a members-only Web site with interactive features and exclusive content by Post-Gazette staffers above and beyond what the Post-Gazette already provides in its daily print and online versions.

PG+ will not replace, which will continue to offer the same breaking news, features and multimedia content as always. Rather, it will allow subscribers access to a new stream of exclusive blogs, videos, live chats and behind-the-scenes insights into the news of the day.

The new site, hosted by a team of PG bloggers, will emphasize user interaction, with commenting throughout the site. Members also will be able to create a social networking profile to keep the conversation going.

The content will be provided by some of the Post-Gazette's best-known personalities, including Ed Bouchette, Mackenzie Carpenter, Doug Oster, Gene Collier, Reg Henry and Jack Kelly.
There's an annual membership fee of $36 vs. a monthly membership of $3.99.

You can tour the PG+ site here.

Potter had floated the rumor that PittGirl would be part of the new site, but from his Slag Heap post yesterday -- and the tour -- she appears to be MIA (at least for now).

As Potter also points out:
...this online membership fee is being applied to everyone -- including those who already pay for the print edition. So I'm afraid the P-G just lost a print subscriber: me.


I'm not sure losing print-edition readers is the kind of revenue enhancement the P-G has in mind. But I doubt there's a lot of overlap between print and online readership anyway. So this could be smart business even if it ticks me off.

I think he's right about the lack of overlap.

I guess the perks of the new site include the ability to "interact personally" with P-G writers/bloggers, or is that blogger-writers? The regular online edition of the P-G still does not allow reader comments on it's news stories/columns -- something that many online editions of newspapers have included for some time.

One of the features includes something called "FACE OFF LIVE!" Which is a daily "live right-left chat on the world of politics" between Reg Henry and Jack Kelly. It behooves me to point out that Dayvoe has been fact-checking Kelly FOR YEARS now.

I may decide to splurge the $3.99 and give the site a whirl even though a large chunk of it appears to be sports-oriented -- not my cup of tea -- but undoubtedly something to attract the huge Pittsburgh Diaspora crowd.

Anyhoo, I still find the whole newspaper writers as newspaper bloggers phenomenon to be strange -- especially when the writers are columnists as opposed to journalists. I mean, what do they have to say on a blog that they can't say in their columns? What is the point? What am I missing?

Are we supposed to take their blogs as somehow being less serious than their columns? Or, does it just allow for a more diverse range of topics for them to cover?

I guess I just don't get the mentality behind it.

They are still responsible to a corporate entity -- no? -- something that regular little ol' bloggers do not have to worry about.

I guess I'm asking if corporate bloggers are truly bloggers...


Dayvoe said...

I might try it out this month as well.

Perhaps, if I am lucky and get good enough at it, Reg will quote me in his daily back-and-forth with my BFF Jack Kelly.

spork_incident said...

I'll try it for a month but given what I pay for the dead-tree edition having to spend more makes me grumpy.


A Spork in the Drawer

etwilson said...

Even the Times gave print subscribers access to Times Select; I'm not really inclined to pay the PG a second time to read their blogs.

Maria said...


Cost-cutting newspapers are losing many of their youngest reporters, editors and photographers at the same time publishers are trying to break some of their old habits and learn new tricks on the Internet.

The findings emerged in a recent survey conducted by the Associated Press Managing Editors, an industry group. The report suggests the massive staff cuts at newspapers across the United States will make it even more difficult for the industry to adapt and remain relevant in the age of digital media.

Ellipses said...

What is the value to either the reader or the advertiser (yes, there are advertisers, of sorts... check out the "perks")???

None of the content is "better" than what I can get for free elsewhere... The huffington post and daily kos have much more renown writers...

And as of right now, the PG+ has 200 subscribers... A good chunk of those are contributors and/or competitors...

I signed up for a month because I am a competitor. I am having a super hard time getting into the site... when I say "getting into" the site, I mean... digging it... being attracted to it... wanting to make sweet sweet love to it... It's very blah.

I can't imagine a scenario where this is successful outside of becoming a sports blog network...

What is the answer to the "why" question?

WHY should someone pay 4 bucks to have access to the PG+?

What is the value?

Clyde Wynant said...

Haven't taken a look yet, but question remains; shouldn't you be putting your most important content right out there on the front page? And shouldn't people be able to comment on it directly?

I'm with Maria, I don't see what a writer can do on a blog that they can't in a column, without immediately becoming a commentator rather than a reporter.

Krugman's blog on the Time's site is often used to add content between his regular columns and to elucidate further...but I'm not sure anyone on the P-G has that much to say....

The Expatriate said...

Another day in the death of the American print newspaper.

Conservative Mountaineer said...


And that's a bad thing why?

Dead tree news is so old-time.. especially for rags like the Pravda-Gazette... true journalists/reporters have gone the way of the DoDo.. too bad.. Good riddance to the newspaper industry.

Sue said...

I coughed up the $36 because I will do what it takes to keep that newsprint on my front stoop each day. I poked around a little bit and didn't see anything too impressive. Why can't they bring some of us actual bloggers in to guest blog on a rotating basis instead of Reg Henry for God's sake?