More online newspapers are certainly talking about building up the pay-wall around their web content these days, but next week, the Twin Cities' StarTribune.com will begin what it's tentatively calling an "experiment" in offering certain stories to print readers first.
In an editorial, Star Tribune Editor Nancy Barnes admits that the move may seem counter-intuitive. But she alludes to the challenges of extracting necessary report mostly from online advertising, and says that the paper might as well at least reward paying readers.
The paper will continue to make breaking news immediately available for free. But for those interested in reading dispatches from Star Tribune's investigative projects, "deeply reported" non-breaking news stories and features, they'll have to buy the paper. Some of those stories could make it onto the site later in the week, though more urgent stories might be placed online sooner. Barnes says the execs will monitor the results over the next few weeks and determine if the print hold-back will make any differences and, at the very least, inform how they should distribute their content as it sloughs through a very difficult year.
By David Kaplan