Not so many years ago, newspaper executives were saying they needed to put all of their stories online, even though they were charging people to read the same stories in a printed newspaper.

Now, MediaNews Group executives Dean Singleton (right) and Jody Lodovic (left) are having second thoughts.

“… we continue to do an injustice to our print subscribers and create perceptions that our content has no value by putting all of our print content online for free,” they said in a memo posted at Romenesko.

The memo outlines the company’s online plans:

    • “We will begin to move away from putting all of our newspaper content online for free. Instead, we will explore a variety of premium offerings that apply real value to our print content. We are not trying to invent new premium products, but instead tell our existing print readers that what they are buying has real value, and to our online audience (who don’t buy the print edition), that if you want access to all online content, you are going to have to register, and/or pay.” • MediaNews will create a regional site that will be “actively managed to present breaking news. It will continue to draw a content from the newspaper (but probably in a more abbreviated form), but will also have user-generated content, community involvement and third party content.” • “We will build a new local utility site (, which is an ecosystem of local information, resources, user content, shopping guides, and marketplaces. This site will be focused on a younger audience as well as other targeted audiences based on demographics which are attractive to our current and potential advertisers.”

Here’s a link to the comments Romenesko got about the memo.

Bay Area Media News,


  1. pay sites will work for companies providing very specific information to an audience that wants to buy it — that’s why the wall street journal has had some success … but medianews doesn’t offer much that people are willing to buy … the papers medianews has acquired were once highly regarded for their news coverage, but not today after they were destroyed by singleton …

  2. Our industry should have bit the bullet years ago and charged for online content.

    We screwed up and let the vapid cry “knowledge wants to be free” destroy the very industry that is trained to sort through the maelstrom of information and give people news that is relevant to their general lives, fields of interest and communities.

    Now what! Maybe if Media News and a critical mass of enough other shops try various pay for content schemes, the mood will change and internet readers will stop resisting the idea.

    Then, hopefully a resonable subcription system will be developed to pay our wages and the salaries of the next generation of journalists.

  3. What content does MediaNews have to sell? You read their papers and there’s very little local reporting. They can’t seriously think people want to pay for it!

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