Pay Walls, More Digital Choices at Two Vermont Papers

By: E&P Staff

The Times Argus, Montpelier-Barre, Vt., has announced that it and sister paper the Rutland Herald will begin charging for full Website access and will add online replica digital editions as well as mobile apps later this year.

“We’re responding to the demand of a different delivery system. It speaks to the efficiencies of getting local news into the hands of readers day or night,” the Times Argus quoted Vice President and General Manager Catherine Nelson saying. “It is a logical next step for us.”

E-editions are to come first and will include such extra features as embedded video and audio clips, photo galleries, updates of local news and wire stories and access to digital archives of the newspaper.

Publisher R. John Mitchell said to electronic and print editions will have comparable subscription pricing with simple payment methods.

By the time rutlandherald.com and timesargus.com begin charging, the Websites will have been redesigned, and additional content was promised, including wire service feeds, online-only investigative journalism, audio, video and blogs. Mobile equipment is expected to enable newsroom staffers to provide on-scene reporting. Improved community and statewide coverage will rely on new software and hardware for planning and production.

“We are asking people to pay for the news, plain and simple,” Mitchell is quoted saying. “That is the service we provide. We can no longer afford to give it away on the Web. It continues to take significant resources to provide our content.”

The Herald already has begun using the new technology, which the Times Argus will adopt later in summer.

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