New publisher to charge for online news

Allegretti Declaring “the news isn’t free,” the new publisher of the Gilroy Dispatch says in a story printed today that his paper will start charging online readers. The new publisher is Tony Allegretti, 67, who is also CEO and co-founder of Mainstreet Media Group, owner of 14 newspapers in California. He will also serve as publisher of the Dispatch’s sister papers, the Morgan Hill Times and Hollister Free Lance. After living in La Jolla for four years, Allegretti has returned

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MNG adds paywalls at 23 papers including Vallejo, Vacaville

MediaNews Group, owner of the San Jose Mercury News, is increasing the number of papers in its national chain that will have paywalls on their websites. MNG has been testing a paywall at its dailies in Chico and York, Pa., since last year. On Monday, MNG announced it was adding a paywall to the websites of 23 more papers, including The Reporter in Vacaville and the Times-Herald in Vallejo. Under the model, all readers of the selected publications will have

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Hearst planning Chronicle pay wall

Bay Citizen.org says that more than half the stories now available for free at the Chronicle’s SFGate.com would be cordoned off by a new pay wall under consideration by the paper’s owner, Hearst Corp. Bay Citizen quoted Chronicle employees, speaking anonymously, who said Hearst is leaning toward a “hard” pay wall rather than one like the New York Times implemented this week that lets readers click on a certain number of articles before access is cut off. “Employees said they

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Sonoma Index-Tribune drops website charge

The Sonoma Index-Tribune has dropped the $5-a-month fee it had been charging readers to access its news site for the past three months after AOL’s Patch.com started a free local news site, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. When the Index-Tribune put up the paywall, editor and publisher Bill Lynch said that free access to news stories “is a business model for newspapers that cannot be sustained.” Lynch did not return a call to the Press Democrat to explain

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MNG to start pay wall experiments next month

MediaNews Group, which publishes most of the daily newspapers in the Bay Area, plans to test a system that will charge for access to news stories online, according to NewsAndTech.com. The trials will take place at Chico’s Enterprise Record and the York (Pa.) Daily Record and York Dispatch. Consumers will be able to read up to 10 stories for free each month before they are asked to begin paying for access. “A lot of experimentation is still going on —

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Newspaper saved by killing website, adding staff

Conventional wisdom in the newspaper business is that papers should shrink their newsrooms and expand their websites in order to survive. When Denver’s Rocky Mountain News folded last year, political reporter M.E. Sprengelmeyer lost his job. So he got in the car and drove south to New Mexico, where he grew up. He bought a weekly, the Guadalupe County Communicator, where he did precisely the opposite of the conventional wisdom: He increased the staff by 40% and killed the paper’s

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MediaNews describes pay wall

MediaNews, which is making post-bankruptcy plans, tells Bloomberg News that it will give users access to as many as 25 “premium” articles monthly, after which they’ll have to pay an undetermined fee unless they subscribe to a MediaNews print publication. MediaNews is calling the “metered pay wall” similar to one at the Financial Times. MediaNews plans to test the concept at its papers in Chico and York, Pa., in the next few months. Then the pay wall might be extended

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Major paper’s pay service attracts 35 customers

As newspapers in the Bay Area consider putting their stories behind pay walls, they might consider the experience of Newsday on Long Island. According to the New York Observer, after three months, only 35 people signed up to pay $5 a week for access to all of Newsday’s stories. Newsday’s Web site redesign cost $4 million. The 35 subscribers will provide $9,000 in revenue over a year’s time. The paper’s free Web site is losing readers and advertisers now that

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Chron offers ‘exclusive’ to paying readers

. Those who pay for the Chronicle — presumably its print readers and those who receive the e-edition — got a bonus story this morning. The “Print & E-Edition Exclusive” is a change of course for the Chron, which has been pushing readers to its free SFGate.com site for 15 years. Last summer, Editor Ward Bushee decided to only put Phil Bronstein’s column in the print edition, not on SFGate, as an experiment

MediaNews takes aim at Google

MediaNews Group will block Google from pulling stories from the Web sites of two of its newspapers that plan to test the concept of charging for news, according to Bloomberg News. In the first quarter of next year, MNG plans to charge for most of its news on the sites of two of its smaller papers, the Enterprise-Record in Chico and the York (Pa.) Daily Record. Google will still have access to whatever the papers continue to offer for free.

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