Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Kevin McLurkin
Urban Prep Charter Academy
The News-Gazette in Champaign will begin using a meter pay system on its website Monday, in an attempt to gain an increase in revenue. The New York Times pioneered the meter pay system, and other newspapers followed very quickly.
The News-Gazette’s system gives the website viewer eight free articles per month, and after that, they must purchase an online subscription. The subscription will give readers unlimited access to news-gazette.com, which includes all news and sports articles, blogs, columns, multimedia and much more.
“A benefit from the meter pay system could be a new revenue stream,” said Traci Nally, vice president of human resources.
Due to technological advancements, many newspapers have lost a large percentage of traditional advertising revenue. The News-Gazette starting this system can build online revenue that makes up for the advertising decrease.
A problem Nally said could occur from the new system is a decrease in traffic on the website. However, when the news of the system change was given to the public, the website gained more than 80 subscribers in less than three days.
An online subscription costs $7.99 per month and grants unlimited access to the website. Many other packages are included as well. Current student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign can receive a discounted subscription for $3.99 per month. Also, subscribers to the News-Gazette print edition can get a subscription for $1.49 per month.
“Real news is the product they sell,” Nally said. “It’s gathered, reported and edited by trained and experienced professionals that bring decades of experience to the task of better understanding the world around us.”
The News-Gazette charges for this expanded digital access so it can continue to invest in the quality journalism the people deserve, she said.