Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some News Outlets Ready to Try Charging Online Readers

Extracting payment from online readers has been called everything from the next great folly of print journalism to its salvation, but to get a glimpse of how it really looks, head to Lancaster, Pa.

Specifically, head to the offices of The Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era, one of the first handful of news outlets to acknowledge in interviews that it intends, in the next few months, to start using a software system developed by the entrepreneurs Steven Brill, L. Gordon Crovitz and their partners, which they are calling Press+. Others interested include The Fayetteville Observer in North Carolina and GlobalPost, a news site based in Boston.

A very small number of news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and Newsday, already charge online readers, each with a system developed largely in-house, and The New York Times announced recently that it planned to do the same. But with advertising plummeting, many other publishers eager for a new source of revenue are considering making the switch, despite the risk of losing audience and advertising.

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