EBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s new Hawaii-based online news and community site, Honolulu Civil Beat, went live todayand it has a paywall, but not just any old paywall.
Some of the content is free. And anyone can read the comments. But if you want to participate in the discussions, you gotta pay. Price tag: $19.99 per month, with a 15-day trial at $0.99 (probably designed simply to get your credit card on file so they can start auto-charging at the end of the trial).
The first edition of the “paper” includes stories on the costs to the state of “Furlough Fridays”, Hawaii’s decision to extend the same rights married couples have to those who enter into civil unions, and the number of jobs to be created by Honolulu’s rail system.
In his welcome note, Omidyar writes his goal is the create “a civic square”:
[I]t’s about building a place where we can all learn about and better understand our home, the challenges we face, and debate and discover ideas and strategies for moving forward. Our greatest asset in successfully doing that is the richness and diversity that Hawaii represents. In my experience, the best solutions come out of discussions that involve a diversity of points of view, conducted in a respectful and good-faith search for common ground and meaningful compromise.