USA Today Launches Paywall for Digital Content, Says Many Stories Will Remain Free

“Now we’re asking our readers to help support premium journalism,” Gannett paper’s publisher and editor in chief say

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USA Today announced Wednesday some of its digital content will be put behind a paywall, though many stories will remain free to read online.

“We’ve become part of your daily news habit, and we’re honored to serve you,” wrote president of news and publisher Maribel Perez Wadsworth and editor in chief Nicole Carroll in the announcement, citing internal statistics that show USA Today’s digital platforms garner about 90 million unique visitors a month. “Now we’re asking our readers to help support premium journalism.”

The move makes the Gannett-owned outlet the last of the nationwide newspapers to adopt a subscription model for online content — and comes as revenues from print advertising and subscriptions have cratered.

The paper will introduce multiple subscription models, all with discounted introductory rates. A digital-only tier will cost $9.99 per month; an ad-free digital-only option will cost $12.99; and a home-delivery subscription that includes complete digital access will cost $29.25.

Perez Wadsworth and Carroll pitched the new paywall model by pointing to Gannett’s network of nearly 250 local papers and news outlets, its history of on-the-ground reporting from a variety of American cities and its diverse coverage areas.

“Your subscription is an investment in quality journalism that’s worth paying for, journalism that strengthens our communities and our nation,” they wrote, before highlighting the “big plans” the revenue will help fund: “We’re continuing to invest in our investigative reporting (most recently breaking a string of exclusive stories from the Surfside condo collapse). We’re creating new ways to present content clearly and quickly (check out this visualization on tornado alley). We’re bringing in new voices (have you read Connie Schultz?) to help make sense of this complicated world we share. And just wait until you see the team from USA Today cover Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.”


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