The publishers of a daily newspaper in northeast Iowa will soon be charging a fee for local news content on its website. Chris Mudge, executive director of the Iowa Newspaper Association, says the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald is the first newspaper in Iowa to make the move – but she says it won’t be the last.
“The newspaper industry employs thousands of reporters who are providing the news, fact checking the news and putting it in a format that is attractive and understandable,” Mudge said. “It’s reasonable to expect the reader or website viewer will pay for that.” Those visiting the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald’s website will begin noticing a “pay wall” for local news this Wednesday.
The New York Times recently began charging its readers to browse their on-line content as well. Mudge believes Iowans will be willing to pay for local news – if they know it’s from an credible source. “I think eventually, all of us kind of come to this place where we have Internet fatigue…there’s so much information out there,” Mudge said.
Readers of the Dubuque paper will pay 95-cents for a one-day pass to access local information on the website. They can also subscribe monthly for $7.95. Subscribers to the print edition of the newspaper will not be charged for the online content. Mudge notes that 84-percent of Iowans claim to read a newspaper, so she doesn’t expect the actual delivered paper will disappear anytime soon.
“So, I think there are a lot of people out there still seeking information and they’ll continue to seek information,” Mudge said. “Yes, there will probably be a gradual move to where more people are getting information on the Internet, but we’re not there yet.” Some 320 newspapers are printed in Iowa. Only 40 of those papers are printed and delivered daily, the rest are weekly.