Editor’s note: Kate Myers and Emily Goligoski oversee and study journalism membership models, respectively. At ONA this week they’ll be presenting about membership structures with newsroom staff from for-profit, non-profit and professional society organizations. What follows is a story about a trend they’re seeing in for-profit news sites pitching exclusive content and experiences as membership, which has the potential to be confusing for audience members.
I (Kate) came into work one morning recently and was bombarded in the very active Intercept Slack channels with links to another journalism site launching a membership program. This program (which shall remain nameless) offered a newsletter, early access to the publication, and that trope of all memberships: a tote bag.
When I read the membership pitch, I was looking for some hint of a bigger picture, a way for the audience to more deeply connect with the mission of the publication. Instead, it seemed like a just a chance to upsell their subscriptions.
When a fourth person Slacked me this link, I finally decided to do something productive with my frustration. I called Emily and started ranting.
Many of us are besieged with donation, subscription, and membership offers from news organizations — and in some cases, pitching similar offers ourselves. Today we’re increasingly seeing examples of media companies experimenting with forms of “membership lite,” or subscription offerings that are dressed up to feel more like paid clubs than true communities.
Facebook’s late July announcement of a new membership accelerator focused on acquisition marketing has the potential to muddy the
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/news/demystifying-membership-lite-why-membership-and-subscription-serve-different-goals