Tacoma's newspaper said Sunday that it will begin charging readers who want to access its news and features via its website, thenewstribune.com.
The changes, set to take effect on Dec. 17, will limit to 15 per month the number of articles a reader can access on the site at no cost. Print subscribers will have to pay an additional $2.50 per month for unlimited online access, while digital-only subscribers will pay $9.95 per month.
News Tribune executive director David Zeek announced the changes in a blog post. "While it is great to be growing readership online, it’s not a sustainable business model if we’re investing in new delivery vehicles, but giving it away," he wrote, adding:
"Beginning this month we are joining hundreds of other daily newspapers around the country that have implemented new payment plans to give readers multiple options on print and digital subscriptions. The idea is to give all of our customers all the news they want, when and how they want it."
The digital subscription model is being adopted by more newspapers across the country as print subscriptions decline. The Gannett newspaper chain requires a subscription for unlimited online access to most of its regional newspapers. Nationally, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal both charge for online access.
The News Tribune is owned by the McClatchy, a chain that includes The Olympian, The Bellingham Herald and the Tri-City Herald in Washington state.
The Olympian and the Tri-City Herald also announced they will follow the same digital subscription model.
The Seattle Times does not charge for access to its online content, nor does seattlepi.com, the digital-only successor to the now-defunct Seattle Post-Intelligencer.