How newspaper pay walls affect PR

The rise of online subscriptions for newspaper websites will impact public relations, although the effects will be minor, experts say.

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The L.A. Times joins a number of other newspapers erecting pay walls, including The New York Times, Dallas Morning News, and Baltimore Sun. Gannett is building pay walls around 80 of its papers—although not its biggest title, USA Today—and the Chicago Tribune said it will soon charge for online content.

It’s likely that more papers will follow suit. In January, Vocus released its State of the Media report, in which it predicted the increasing setting up of pay walls in 2012.

“If the modern-brand newspaper hopes to survive and make money, pay walls are necessary,” David Coates, managing editor of newspaper content at Vocus, said in the report.

People working in public relations shouldn’t worry about pay walls, say several PR professionals and media experts with whom PR Daily interviewed via email. The consumer barriers won’t significantly affect a news story’s reach nor impede a PR pro’s ability to perform research on a publication, reporter, or specific topic.

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