It is interesting to note over the past week, the Toronto Star is featuring “exclusive” stories, along with investigative and enterprise stories, on the front page of their print edition.
The editors are also profiling follow-up stories to previous investigative stories, ensuring audiences are aware of the impact of the initial work.
While some might argue this is merely good journalism, it might be noteworthy in another way.
As newspapers attempt to find profitable formulas for online editions, a debate over the use of pay walls is brewing. This is where news and information is available only through a log-in process to paid subscribers. There can be a mix of free and subscription or subscription only.
Through the promotion of exclusive material, the Star is creating a sense of value to its audience. In an online marketplace full of free information, often the same or similar content, exclusivity demonstrates the unique quality of the newspaper’s content. Hopefully, this unique content creates a demand that the audience will pay for in the end.
It is worth watching closely to see if this happens and the level of success. Also, it will be equally interesting to watch if other Canadian news organizations follow suit. So far, The Globe and Mail is not promoting an exclusive material. Over the past week at CBC Newsworld, during the morning news, the host noted a story on toxic lead in soil was noted as being exclusive. It will be one to watch.