Today WSJ launched a fresh design for their web site at http://online.wsj.com/public/us At first glance it looks and feels like the WSJ should – maybe more so than their paper counterpart at the moment. For me to give a proper review it’s going to take a couple weeks to notice what patterns I like and what is making me feel uncomfortable. If there’s one huge complaint it’s that they still believe in locking content up to subscribers only. That kind of thinking made sense when a publisher only relied on funding from subscribers. There are only a couple publishers that can sustain that strategy today and I’m not thinking WSJ is one of them. For any news story to be worth reading, someone outside the news org is going to talk about the story and pass it on. Two of the most common ways are via friends, and blogs that a person trusts. Soon as you lock people out of that you have issues. It remains to be seen if I’ll notice a bump in people sharing news stories from WSJ or not – but why make it harder than it needs to be?