The paywall has been an option that many newspapers have implemented for their website, but the USA Today does not have one. Why? They feel they aren’t “unique” enough to use a paywall. I find this stance very admirable by Larry Kramer, USA Today’s publisher. He was named new president and publisher in May of 2012, and turning around the paper’s profit margin is paramount in his plans, which makes this stance all the more respectable.
On Wednesday, at the Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York City, he said, “I don’t want to charge for USA Today right now, I don’t think it’s the right thing today to do.” Wow, way to be honest Mr. Kramer. Like seriously, way to go. I am considering buying a few USA Today’s, because of these comments. He’s not trying to fool anyone into thinking that his paper is something it isn’t . . . yet, as he says, “There is so much national news out there, I think we would lose more than we would gain.”
Being honest with yourself is always key. He knows what the USA Today, what it is, and where he needs to improve. So, he chose the path of hard work and commitment to turn around the profits at the USA Today over taking an easy way out and implementing a paywall. In his eyes, the “easy way out” would do more harm than good at the moment. I’m not doubting that, but it takes real courage to admit it.
Mr. Kramer wants to make his paper more respectable and increase the level of journalism that makes a paper unique, one worthy of a paywall. It will not be a short fix, but it could be a very worthwhile fix. One that may not help in the short term, like a paywall would, but one that pays off in the end. I will be rooting for the USA Today to turn things around, because good things should come to people who aspire to be the best they can be.