The modern era of digital technologies has changed the way contemporary newspapers should look like. Nowadays the success of the media depends on the cooperation of journalists and web-developers, which combines the content with modern technologies. The content is not unique anymore because of the rapid penetration of the Internet in the lives of people.
It is possible to tweet the breaking news and by the first to tell the world what is going on. The wide audience will know the new information before the journalists will write a full-size article and the newspaper will be published. That is why the web-newspapers focus on differentiating the reading experience of people, since the content is similar everywhere. The digital strategies of the two newspapers The Guardian and The New York Times will be analyzed in this essay.
The New York Times and The Guardian pay much attention to their web presence. They try to facilitate the usage of their sites by promoting cross-platform applications for iOS, Android and Windows. Such apps are easy to install and the subscribers will receive the news updates automatically.
There is a big problem the web newspapers face – it is difficult to raise money with the help of their websites. The majority of people simply ignore digital advertising or the applications in the browsers cut it. That is why many newspapers introduce subscription system, and The New York Times and The Guardian are not the exceptions. For example, The New York Times introduced the paywall in the beginning of 2011. This system allows reading only 20 free articles during the month. If the person wants to get the full access to the website, he/she needs to pay for it. Picard writes about this way to get profit from the newspaper website:
“Free news sites rely on advertising income, but only a few publishers can emulate the Mail Online in being able to attract the tens of millions of digital readers needed to make that approach workable. Others opt for a “halfway house”, with “freemium” models that provide some free content, but charge for additional news or delivery on certain digital platforms. This still generates advertising income from readers who won’t or are not yet paying for news, but still taps into the growing market for paid digital news” (Picard 2013).
In a contrary to The New York Times, where the metering system of payment is used, The Guardian has a free access to mostly all articles on the official website (Filloux 2013). It is possible to download a PDF version of the newspaper that features the best materials of the month. There is a subscription on The Guardian official website, but the amount of downloaded information is not considered in it. The readers from the United Kingdom pay 3,99 pound for a half of a year, but for other countries the access to the digital version of the newspaper is free.
Both periodicals do not copy the content from the printed version to the web version. Usually the web version is more extended and feature more subjects. The extended web versions are presented differently in The New York Times and The Guardian. The New York Times uses thematic blogs that feature text reports, video, audio, photo materials and readers’ comments upon the subject. It also provides the audience with thematic podcasts that can be downloaded from the website. The Guardian also has weekly podcasts created by Ricky Gervais. It has the section The Comment is Free, that allows the readers and the journalists communicate and create news freely.
The New York Times and The Guardian try to reach the wide audience and to be present on the international level. In fact, they both are often referred to by foreign reporters. The New York Times has the departments abroad. For example, Clifford J. Levy started a Russian-language project of The New York Times in 2008, where the articles about Russia were printed and the content that can be referred to Russia was translated.
The articles by The Guardians are also translated in many languages and cover international topics. For example, they can be found in translation to Russian language on the specialized website Inosmi.ru. However, The Guardian does not focus on the idea of being translated to other languages as The New York Times. The CEO of The Guardian Media Group, Andrew Miller, said in the interview that the newspaper plans to increase of their rating in the English-speaking regions like Australia and the United States (Indvick 2013).
The digital strategies of The New York Times and The Guardian are constantly improving. They newspapers are working on their presence on all platforms and develop various types of getting information like podcasts to increase their popularity. Another crucial issue in promoting the newspaper websites and increasing their rate is social media engagement. The use of well-known platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram help to raise the engagement level of the readers and increase the competition between the newspapers.
The Guardian and The New York Times are presented in all possible social media websites. It is possible to click an icon of the specific social media (for example, Twitter), and the article will appear in the reader’s Twitter account. Such platforms that provide the users with the possibility of immediate messaging deprive the journalists of the right to be the first to learn about the news. That is why when the article appears in the newspaper, many people know about it and the news is not that breaking as it might be without micro blogging. Both The Guardian and The New York Times have their Tweeter accounts, so that they can react immediately to the situation in the world and inform their readers. This leads to a tough time competition.
However, the content is also important in drawing the readers’ attention. For example, The Guardian managed to publish the exclusive interview with Edward Snowden and hired several outstanding people like the one from Wikileaks (Barker 2013), Another key characteristic of The Guardian is their policy of a so-called “open journalism”. The comments are open to public and everyone can express their opinion without being censored.
These two newspapers are very active in the social media. For example, The New York Times has 119,066 tweets and 10,058,854 followers. The messages appear on their official Twitter page several times per hour. The newspaper has 4,344,447 likes on Facebook and it is possible to read the reports there without going to the newspaper’s website. The news in Facebook feature video and proto materials, unlike Twitter. The Guardian has 1,065,150 likes on Facebook. It also has 39,874 tweets and 1,616,683 followers on Twitter. It is possible to conclude that the audience of The New York Times is significantly bigger than the one of The Guardian, so the CEO of The Guardian was right when he spoke about their plans to promote the newspaper in other English-speaking countries.
The Guardian and The New York Times have certain differences in their digital strategies. The key difference is in their ways of subscription. They also have a slightly different structure and the audience size, but they both actively use social media to communicate with the readers. The cross-platform applications and the way to present the information using text, video and photos are the similar features that are characteristic to the modern web-journalism.
Barker, D. (2013). The content strategy behind The Guardian’s NSA/Edward Snowden uberstory. Retrieved from http://econsultancy.com/ua/blog/62880-the-content-strategy-behind-the-guardian-s-nsa-edward-snowden-uberstory
Filloux, F. (2013). Two strategies: The Washington Post vs. The NYT. Retrieved from http://www.mondaynote.com/2013/05/13/two-strategies-the-washington-post-vs-the-nyt/
Indvik, L. (2013). Why ‘The Guardian’ Is Forgoing Paywalls – For Now. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/01/21/guardian-australia/
Picard, R. (2013). Digital news is finally starting to pay. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2013/jun/20/digital-news-paywalls