Hibbing newspaper erects a paywall

Add the Hibbing Daily Tribune to newspapers erecting a paywall. [Update: And the Mesabi Daily News and Grand Rapids Herald, too.]

In note published today (still free to read, but registration required) the Daily Tribune announced it would adopt the new policy Tuesday. Subscribers will get web access for free, but all others must pay $6.95 for four weeks, $39 for six months or $65 a year.

I wasn’t able to get publisher Wanda Moeller’s explanation — there was nothing in the note, and she’s off for the week, according to the polite-but-unhelpful phone answerer. Way to drop a bomb and run, Wanda!

The paywall is not likely to be a huge moneymaker in Kevin McHale’s birthplace — the Daily Tribune had a daily circulation of 4,500 when it was last audited in 2007. (Mesabi had 9,000 readers the same year, the twice-weekly Grand Rapids had 7,000 in 2006.) Typically, smaller papers have next-to-no web revenue, and want to keep locals reading the print version.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Andy Gifford on 09/16/2009 - 12:51 pm.

    Alan Mutter has a timely post about paywalls and difficulty implementing them on his ‘Newsosaur’ site.

    http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/2009/09/inflated-traffic-stats-cloud-pay-wall.html

  2. Submitted by Aaron Brown on 09/16/2009 - 03:58 pm.

    The paywall will also cover the company’s other northern MN properties at the Mesabi Daily News and Grand Rapids Herald-Review. All of them announced the change today.

    (Disclosure: I write a column for the Hibbing Daily Tribune and am a past editor, but was not involved in this decision).

  3. Submitted by Pat Sirek on 09/17/2009 - 01:38 pm.

    The online sites for these two papers are fairly thin anyway; the only things I’ll have to call home for are the obits. The paywall won’t be a big moneymaker, I’ll bet.

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