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Knight Center: What the Waco Tribune-Herald has learned from its premium content model

January 20th, 2011Posted by in Business, Newspapers, Online Journalism

Four months ago, the Waco Tribune-Herald launched a premium content payment model, keeping breaking news, obituaries and other sections free but introducing levies on more in-depth work.

Knight Digital Media Center blogger Michele McLellan has posted an interview with Tribune-Herald editor Carlos Sanchez, and although he can’t divulge the numbers it sheds some light on how communities may respond to such a model.

Q. How do you decide what content is for online subscribers only?

Our strategy from the beginning was to keep things as simple as possible. Generally, if it’s a wire story that is available at other websites, it’s free; if it is something locally produced, it’s behind a pay wall.

There are broad exceptions: staff written blogs, breaking news and, most important, obituaries (are free). Our thinking behind the blogs was that our reporters could offer more of a social media feel, with links to content behind the pay wall. Ideally, it would replicate the kind of banter that we hear every day in a newsroom in which the story behind the story becomes just as fascinating as the story itself.

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