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.