The Sun-Sentinel is
erecting a pay wall on April 9, so expect a mass exodus of
readers who don't want to pony up five bucks a month for mostly routine local news.
The once proud Fort Lauderdale-based daily is
following the lead of other Tribune Co. owned newspapers like the Los
Angeles Times, which instituted a pay wall in March. However, the
only way readers might pay for articles is if the Sun-Sentinel
starts churning out a lot more original enterprise pieces like the
newspaper's recent three-part
series on how police officers from various law enforcement
agencies are horrendous drivers, some even killing other motorists
while largely going unpunished.
Even then, it seems unlikely Sun-Sentinel readers would fork over $60 a year for news they can get for free from hundreds of other media sources. If big newspaper company executives believe the success of the New York Times and its pay wall means other major dailies around the country can do the same, they are sadly mistaken. They see the Gray Lady recently announcing it has picked up 454,000 paid subscribers to the New York Times web-site digital products, and think they can do it too.
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USA Today's publisher, Gannett Co. Inc., will be expanding its online pay walls from six test markets to all 80 of the company's small-market newspapers by the end of this year. Gannett is limiting free access to five to 15 stories a month. Miami Herald parent McClatchy Co. began experimenting with a pay wall last year, allowing customers of The Modesto Bee to read up to 20 stories at no charge. After that subscribers are asked to pay $5 per month or $50 a year for access. McClatchy has not announced if and when the Herald is going to erect a pay wall.
The Tribune Co. is planning to limit the number of free articles on the Sun-Sentinel as well. But as the South Florida Daily Blog recently noted, the Sun-Sentinel is not the New York Times, and certainly not even on par with its sister publication in Los Angeles.
Besides there is always a way around a pay wall as discovered by Miami New Times sister newspaper L.A. Weekly.