CORNER BROOK — The Western Star is making some changes to help the leading news source of western Newfoundland meet the growing demands of the digital public.
Beginning Thursday, The Western Star’s website, TheWesternStar.com, will switch to a metered access site.
The Western Star joins a long list of news organizations in Canada and the United States to charge for access to their websites. That list includes some of the most prestigious news brands in the country, including the Globe and Mail, National Post and the Ottawa Citizen. U.S. papers including the New York Times and L.A. Times are also metering their website content.
All content on TheWesternStar.com remains free but when the amount of content read reaches six pages for a 30-day period, The Star will invite the reader to become a digital subscriber. To continue reading breaking news, in-depth stories, opinion pieces, videos, photo galleries and reader comments, non-subscribers can sign up for a digital-only subscription. It’s just 99 cents for the first month. That subscription then renews automatically at a rate of $7.96 per month.
Subscribers will continue to have complete access to The Western Star across all platforms: paper, e-edition and the website. The “all-access pass” will give subscribers unrestricted website usage, moving them past the metered controls.
Throughout its 113-year history, The Western Star has always been mindful of the need to continuously transform and reinvent itself to remain relevant in the changing media landscape and especially to readers, says managing editor Troy Turner.
“We’re picking up a trend that has crossed the continent,” said Turner. “The reality is it costs us a great deal of money to produce the stories, photos and videos we provide our readers on our website.”
The Western Star has always charged a nominal free for the printed newspaper, so the meter will be nothing new to its valued subscribers. The Star has never, however, charged for expanded web content, which is simply not a sustainable business model any longer.
The Western Star’s website remains one of the most dominant websites in the province, reaching more than 100,000 unique visitors and nearly one million pageviews every month. It offers exclusive content and provides readers with a balanced, objective read in navigating the issues that matter most to them.
“The Star prides itself in community journalism, and its ability to sift through an issue to offer stories that are unbiased in their approach and agenda-free. The steps we’re taking with the introduction of a meter will allow us to continue delivering the coverage you’ve come to expect from us over the past 113 years,” said Turner.
Print readers and subscribers won’t be paying anything extra when The Star moves to a metered website. In fact, The Western Star plans to enhance their reading options.