Three months after Newsday erected a paywall around its revamped $4 million web site, only 35 people have paid the $5 a week needed to breach it. Publisher Terry Jiminez revealed the figure at a heated newsroom meeting last week, insiders tell the New York Observer. Jiminez stressed that most visitors already had free access to the site via either their newspaper or their cable subscriptions, adding: "That's 35 more than I thought it would have been."
"We’re the freebie newsletter that comes with your HBO," scoffed one staff member. Newsday, currently in the middle of a bitter pay dispute with staffers, lost $7 million in the first three quarters of last year, Jiminez told the meeting. The web site has been a highly unpopular project with reporters angered by cuts and disputes since Cablevision bought the daily last year. "The view of the newsroom is that the web site sucks,” one staff member said.