The paywall at The Australian, long foreshadowed, has gone up.
I gather it’s actually still free, but you have to register, but I only know this from reading Crikey and Mumbrella. The redesigned News site doesn’t immediately tell me, unless readers are supposed to intuit the point of the “login” and “sign up” buttons at the bottom of the page.
Similarly, when you go to a story, there’s a couple of paragraphs as a teaser, then a tagline telling you how many comments there are in an enormous font, but nothing immediately apparent to let you know that you need to subscribe to keep reading. You need to scroll down past a heap of white space cluttered up on the right with job ads to spy a sign up link in the lower right hand corner.
Perhaps people will be tantalised by a teaser like this:
AS the clock winds down on Julia Gillard’s prime ministership, Labor insiders are already reasoning why: poor political judgment and an absence of policy principle.
Privately, Gillard’s supporters and detractors are scathing in their assessment of her performance. However, Labor’s former national secretary and campaign director is not afraid to have his comments attributed.
I also can’t find an easy way to get back to the front page.
Strangely, too, there are still buttons for recommendations to be made on Facebook and for retweeting, but it’s hard to see this as anything but a restriction on the degree to which this sort of ‘content’ will actually contribute to or stimulate conversations.
If you can be bothered registering and finding your way around a horribly user-unfriendly site, though, you can read all about how this represents the “future of journalism” here.
Update: According to Jason Whittaker in today’s Crikey, there is a big “subscribe to continue reading” thingie at the bottom of the teaser text. I didn’t see it. Perhaps we all have to wait til our caches refresh to experience this “new age of journalism”.
Update: I think I’ve worked out why I can’t see the ‘sign up’ graphic. I think AdBlock Plus for Chrome is interpreting it as an ad and blocking it.