Dagbladet keeps commentary in front of paywall for public consumption

By Alexandra Beverfjord

Dagbladet

Oslo, Norway

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In the last year, Dagbladet has experienced strong growth in commentary journalism.

Commentary and debate articles are an important part of the public space. Through this content, the media conveys a wide variety of opinions. Social media has led to many more people gaining a voice in the public, and that is positive.

Commentators for Dagbladet are, from top left, political editor Geir Ramnefjell, Martine Aurdal, Morten Strand, Sigrid Hvidsten, John Olav Egeland, and Inger Merete Hobbelstad.
Commentators for Dagbladet are, from top left, political editor Geir Ramnefjell, Martine Aurdal, Morten Strand, Sigrid Hvidsten, John Olav Egeland, and Inger Merete Hobbelstad.

But it is also important that traditional media take care with this task. Traditional media can put debate material in a bigger context and follow up topics with important journalism.

A lot of media now puts commentary and debate material behind the digital paywall. There may be good reasons for doing this: The free site economy is under pressure, but the result is that newspapers’ commentators are read less. One danger with this is that this area of substance will be marginalized, and traditional media will not be able to contribute to a sufficient degree to the public discourse.

Long traditions

Dagbladet is one of Norway’s oldest newspapers. The newspaper was established in 1869. Dagbladet has a long tradition of presenting the newspaper’s well-founded views on important issues and creating movement in the public debate. A good political commentator should explore, explain, and be able to go in depth on difficult cases.

Dagbladet is also Norway’s second largest newspaper. It reaches 28% of the population with our journalism every single day. Dagbladet’s most important platform is its mobile free site, but the newspaper also has more than 100,000 digital subscribers. We also still publish a print edition.

News focus

It is no secret that commentary is often more demanding to read than the usual news articles. At Dagbladet, we work consciously to ensure that what we comment on is well read and seen — and has an impact.

Our commentary material is often made available outside the paywall; occasionally, these are our most-read articles. This is because we work precisely to be relevant to readers — to find the right issues, the right angles. And, most importantly, we get as close to the current news stories as we can, which often results in more than two million pageviews a week in a market with approximately 5.4 million inhabitants.

About Alexandra Beverfjord

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