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November 27, 2010 / Matt Gerardi

ProPublica Partners with Journalism Online and Their Press+ System

The prominent investigative journalism organization ProPublica has joined Journalism Online’s network of content providers using the Press+ platform to help facilitate subscriptions and reader donations. (PaidContent)

Press+ allows users to pay for content all over the web through a single Press+ account. There are very few outlets currently using the system, ProPublica being one of them, but Journalism Online, owner and operator of the platform, has announced that over 1500 publishers have signed “letters of intent to launch the Press+ e-commerce platform.” (Journalism Online Press Release)

ProPublica’s addition to the network is backed by a recent grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has pledged to pay one year’s worth of revenue sharing fees between Journalism Online and 10 news organizations seeking partnership with the company. The only other publisher currently enjoying the grant is New Haven Independent. (PaidContent)

The Press+ system is designed to seek payment from only a content providers most loyal readers. Here’s how it works: after viewing an allotment of free content (the number of free articles is determined by the publisher) a reader is prompted to subscribe, or in ProPublica’s case, donate. If the reader decides to subscribe at that prompt screen, they are then asked to create a Press+ account. Any time they are prompted to subscribe or donate to a Press+ affiliate’s site in the future, the process is shortened to just a single click, as billing and user information is stored in the reader’s Press+ account.

This is a potential new business model for news organizations as it makes it easier for readers to manage their subscriptions and subscribe to new sites, but prices are still relatively high for something most people are used to getting for free. The lowest subscription over at the New Haven Independent is 10 dollars per month.

It’s also worth noting, News Corp. purchased a minority stake Journalism Online back in June.

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