Ashland newspaper begins charging for most online contentThe Ashland Daily Press is joining about 20 Wisconsin newspapers that are charging people to read their online product. But it’s one of the first papers to charge for almost everything.
By: Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The Ashland Daily Press is joining about 20 Wisconsin newspapers that are charging people to read their online product. But it’s one of the first papers to charge for almost everything.
The Daily Press won’t charge people who are already subscribing to the paper, but they will charge to read beyond the headlines and full obituaries. Editor Claire Duquette says the ten day walk-up to this week’s move has been painful, with numerous negative on-line comments like “Boo,” “It’s a bad idea,” “I see no reason to pay for content” and “buh bye.” Duquette says at least people care enough to be angry about it, “so that’s not a bad thing.”
The Daily Press is charging $65 a year for online reading, about half of the cost of a print subscription. She expects the 5,000 people who used to view their e-edition free will be dramatically down. Duquette says there aren’t many newspapers doing what the Daily Press is doing, and being one of the first “probably puts us in line for kind of a bulls-eye.”
Wisconsin Newspapers Association Director Peter Fox says there is an expectation that online material should be free. He says newspapers made a mistake giving material away for free, as now more newspapers are asking their online readers to support those who are doing the work.
The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram has been charging for some online content since December and at $7.95 a month, they have 250 online paid subscribers. Leader-Telegram Editor Don Huebscher says that’s a plus but he says this is a critical experiment for newspapers.