Newspaper charges more than double for news online vs. home delivery

A new model is being tried for newspapers to make money online, and it doesn't bode well for readers used to getting their news online for free.

At least it doesn't if it's successful.

The Newport Daily News, a 12,000-circulation newspaper in Rhode Island, is charging much more for for its online edition in an effort to get people to buy the printed paper, according to Nieman Journalism Lab story.


Instead of undercutting its primary product with free online news that doesn't make money, the Daily News has a new three-tier pricing structure for subscriptions intended to make it worthwhile to buy the print edition instead of going online.

Home delivery of the printed paper will be $145 a year. Home delivery and online access is $100 a year. Online access only is $345, or 137% more than home delivery of the print edition. One day of the e-paper only is $5.

That's an incentive to get your hands dirty with the ink version, in what Sheila L. Mullowney, the newspaper's executive editor, called "a print-newspaper-first strategy."

In a video on the Nieman Lab Web site, Daily News publisher Albert K. Sherman, Jr., said, "Our goal was to get people back into the printed product." Some readers heard about the plan and asked "why would they pay for it on the Internet when they can go buy the printed paper? And that's perfect -- that's what we want."

As a former newspaper editor and reporter who was laid off almost a year ago, I'm glad to see a newspaper give it a try to make money online. Giving away content online is a bad path that hopefully other newspapers will turn back from. Producing the news isn't cheap, and if you want to get value for what you pay for, this is one solution that might work.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at www.AaronCrowe.net

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