News-Gazette Charging for Online Material
By Jeff Bossert
The Champaign News-Gazette is now charging readers who read a certain number of articles on its website.
Those who click on the newspaper’s own material - reading more than eight of what it calls ‘premium articles’ in a month’s time - will now require a paid subscription.
Amounts vary depending on whether someone already subscribes to the print edition.
Publisher John Foreman calls this additional source of revenue needed in an industry that is under a lot of financial pressure. He said this is a logical way to recoup some costs, and he does not expect a backlash from those already using the paper.
“The idea that a subscriber would pay a dollar or two more to also have the online access is pretty widely accepted," he said. "And then most papers pick up a few thousand new subscribers who subscribe to online only – and we’ve structured it in such a way that somebody who glances at us casually now and again is not going to incur any costs.”
Those who receive the print edition, and pay via debit card are now charged $1.49 a month for full online access to the paper, while all other print subscribers will pay a dollar more.
Non-subscribers are charged $7.99 a month for the online edition.
Foreman said the newspaper does noy have a specific financial goal for the online content.
"It helps us to maintain the strength of our journalistic enteprise, no question," he said. "Whether it contributes $1,000 of the bottom line or $10,000 of the bottom line, we hire a lot of professional journalists. We like to keep them on the payroll, and hope they will produce good journalism for the community. Will it contribute to that? Yes indeed it will."
Foreman said almost as many come to the website per day as the News-Gazette has print subscribers.