The Chronicle (Toowoomba) is the first title to move to the premium model, mirroring that used by metro mastheads like The Daily Telegraph and The Courier Mail which all operate with “news+”.
A further 11 daily regional newspapers will change to the new format in the coming weeks, replacing, in some cases, the existing subscription model.
The step is a further integration of former APN Regional titles into the News stable, following News’ acquisition of the newspapers in 2016.
“Serious journalism costs money, and our local journalism is critical to the ongoing prosperity of our communities across the Sunshine State,” said editorial director at News Regional Media, Bryce Johns.
“News Regional Media is committed to better serving our local communities, which is why readers would have seen a range of We’re For You advertisements about our editors’ pledge and commitment in recent weeks.
“Our team of editors and journalists will continue to champion our people and our regions, giving a voice to the issues and stories that matter to our local communities.”
The site experience will not change for current masthead subscribers, but non-subscribers will see a noticeable difference, with many of the previously free articles now unable to be accessed without a subscription.
Subscribers will also have the added “news+” benefits of full digital access to metropolitan newspaper, The Courier-Mail and other metro mastheads, the ability to participate in SuperCoach footy tipping competitions and the opportunity to access deals through News Corp’s member-only +Rewards site
In an editorial to introduce the change to readers, The Chronicle’s editor Steve Etwell appealed to the masthead’s 188 000 print and online readers and made the commitment: “If it happens here, you’ll know it first with us.”
“After 160 years serving this community, and knowing through rich data what stories and subjects interest you, it’s a pledge we’re happy to make.
“And as we move into a new era online, it’s a pledge worth repeating.”