We’re Going to Build a Wall…

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By Koo ii (21S05A)

And no, it’s not the one you’re thinking about.

Press will be putting up a paywall on Word of Mouth. For the uninitiated, a paywall is a setting on a website that only permits viewers who have paid for a subscription to view its contents. (For the even more uninitiated, Word of Mouth is Raffles Press’ online news publication, the website this article is published on.)

Rising costs of website maintenance and plans to upgrade user experience have made it necessary to restrict free access to this news publication.

In light of this, the paywall will commence on 27 April 2020, Monday, Term 2 Week 6. For now, though, access to articles published before the commencement date, including the Archives, will remain free for all readers. More details such as the subscription tiers and their corresponding fees will be announced in due course. Each subscription tier will have different benefits to subscribers, including varying accessibility to articles in certain categories. 

Lifelong access to all articles on Word of Mouth, for instance, will be given to the highest tier of subscription, “Pal of Press”.

Fees and access to articles for lower tiers will be on a monthly basis, with Raffles Institution students paying fees via GIRO. RI staff, students and alumni will enjoy discounted rates. Subscription for RI staff and students will be opened first on the Stamford portal, and subsequently subscription will be opened on this website for members of the public.

Owing to the fact that readers of Word of Mouth will have to log into their accounts to access articles, user experience on the online publication will also become more personalised. With advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, it is now possible to customise the sequence in which articles are listed on the homepage, based on each account’s history of read articles.

Off the Beaten Track

Launching a paywall, uncommon for a school publication, was not an easy decision for the Prexco (Press’ Executive Committee). “The paywall entails broaching the debate of free versus paid journalism, the issue of user privacy and the technicalities of coding a paywall onto our website,” the chairperson expressed, sharing their concerns.

“Such a decision required much deliberation, but eventually we saw the potential of this new system and the possibilities that it brings, and took the leap of faith. We hope that our readers will lend us their continued support, and look forward to providing an enhanced reading experience on our website!”

Discontinuing free access to the newsletter does not mean that readers cannot get the latest school news without paying the subscription fees.

An alternative source of information would be our Instagram page @rafflespress, where readers can still receive nuggets of news on our grid, alongside other forms of content such as quizzes on Instagram stories.

Yet of course, subscribers will get access to a wider range of content and a more in-depth news coverage on our website, getting their money’s worth.

Thanks and Thanks and Ever Thanks

Of course, Raffles Press and Word of Mouth would not be here today without our loyal readers.

Discussing issues that Rafflesians care about through news informed by a plurality of opinions, experiences, and perspectives has always been our mission here at Press, and we are committed to delivering our promise to our supporters, be they subscribers or not.

As such, we are holding a giveaway of twenty “Pal of Press” subscriptions, granting lucky winners lifelong access to all our articles for free!

Yes, you read right—simply follow the steps below to join the giveaway. Once again, thank you for your continued support, and see you on the other side of the paywall!

  1. Find the secret code in this article by identifying the first letters of each paragraph (including the subheadings)
  2. Key the code into the giveaway form here
  3. Good luck!
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