by William Moultrie
Charleston, SC – As newspapers around the country are struggling to stay afloat, the publisher of Charleston’s Post and Courier thinks they have found a new source of income. Starting this week, the paper will be rolling out new covers on their newspaper boxes to prevent people from reading the front of the newspaper without paying first.
“I don’t think newspapers should ever have been giving away their content,” said Bill Rorich, executive circulation director. “We should have resisted the urge, been tougher, held in higher regard the value of our work (and the cost of doing it) … Why on earth would we give it away?”
The modified boxes will require customers to insert a quarter to view the front page of the paper. Customers who pay to view the front page and then subsequently purchase the newspaper will be eligible to request a one-time twenty-five cent credit towards a subscription to the paper.
“It’s perfectly reasonable,” said Rorich. “The content on the top half of the front page is the most valuable part of the paper and to allow people to read it for free is ridiculous. We’ve invested our resources in bringing those stories to print — if you want to read it, you’re going to have to pay for it.”
The paper also rolled out a new paywall scheme this week limiting readers to five free page views per month before they are prompted to purchase an online subscription to the website.
“We were worried readers would revolt over the new website charges,” said Rorich, “but they seem fine with it, so I’m sure the new charges at the boxes will be fine as well.”