Free Lance-Star Adds Website, Paywall

Publisher Nicholas J. Cadwallender said the Fredericksburg newspaper has added a magazine-style second web address and "meter" use on both sites.

The Free Lance-Star will soon begin charging regular readers visiting its website, Fredericksburg.com, according to an announcement Monday.

The newspaper has also added Freelancestar.com, which "will look and feel more like a magazine," according to Publisher Nicholas J. Cadwallender

In order to help the news organization stay locally owned and operated, Cadwallender said the online sites will now include a "meter" to "track how many pages an individual user hits." 

"Our more frequent users will eventually reach a subscription page that asks them to buy a subscription to read more stories," Cadwallender said. "We offer options that include a print subscription or that are only for digital access," he said. 

What do you think of a paywall at the Free Lance-Star websites? Tell us in the comments below. 

No numbers were given for how many pages viewed would activate the paywall. Currently, digital access to the paper is $15 a month and a home subscription is $17 a month.

As advertising revenue and circulation continue to shrink, newspapers large and small have been adopting paywalls to pull new revenue from regular online readers.

Bloomberg News noted in a December article that digital subscriptions at The New York Times in 2012 helped drive subscriber revenue above advertising revenue, reportedly for the first time.

Dan Kennedy, assistant professor at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism and a long time media critic, said clumsy paywall adoptions can hurt online news. "Newspapers are all missing the mark in digital," he told NetNewsCheck.

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1Ronald February 08, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Typically weeklies are free, and some cities having them dropped in their driveways. Others have a street box (Style Weekly) or the now defunct Portfolio which is a sign of the times now that Landmark has been and is trying to unload everything. And The Front Porch, a monthly, which still wasn't out Monday, Feb. 4th. Still here? The free conservative tabloid Examiner, with boxes in Fxbrg and Washington DC, caused the WP to also publish The Express, a free daily tabloid available in their own big yellow boxes. And then there's Politico. All free. Much of the newspaper problems arose from a change in the daily lifestyles of Americans including just sitting there at home and having TV feed the news to them. But still, and I don't know how, the WP has risen to a ghastly $1.25 for a weekday morning paper. That is not small change. To get us to read their advertisers who would never advertise if it were not for the readers who fork over the cash for whatever else they can find worth reading. Even the China Daily which offers a remarkable insight into the business and China's nouveau riche was free in boxes scattered throughout DC. They got greedy and installed $1 coin operated boxes. Then they got real and reduced the price to 25 cents. Still no longer free. Yet. China is to watch as the largest per capita purchasers of luxury goods. Because they're not invading other countries and not giving away money they don't have to borrow, they're becoming unbelievably rich.
Matt Holden February 08, 2013 at 03:45 PM
I guess the point I am trying to make is a strong weekly presence in the region--FXBG-Spotsy-Stafford--would work if it did real strong journalism. FLS does some halfway decent work, Patch really doesn't do much at all across the board, and neither does Front Porch. A free weekly with a daily website presence that blew away the FLS website (not hard to do) would be profitable. You just need to write real news, cover everything you can and pay the reporters a halfway decent salary. A staff of 3 reporters for a weekly and one editor and two sales people would put the FLS in its grave within 5 years---if they did the right reporting.
1Ronald February 08, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Yes, if I'm not mistaken, Dan used to cover City Council meetings. Never, ever has this been more important than now. Money that we don't have is pouring out in all directions. If you dance to the music you've got to pay to the piper. But we have Council members that are living only for the present and not worrying about tomorrow when bills come due. Taxes will soar out of the roof, sky high, if someone doesn't reel them in to the reality that FxBg does not have the funding to support a Riverfront Park that is dead on in a flood zone. Or to permit city schools to demand more and more funding while denying city (LOCAL) contractors a piece of the pie. I blame Council for this. Council needs to set limits, make the rules and apply and enforce meaningful penalties when those limits are ignored. Council controls the money and spending and needs to show some fiscal responsibility. This is why they were elected. And this is how they can be voted out.
Matthew Kelly February 09, 2013 at 10:06 PM
I would agree with the general sentiment--you would pay for good coverage. It's not there. Believe it or not some of us on the elected side find it just as frustrating. The public needs to be more engaged at the local level. The lack of good coverage makes that goal all the more difficult.
Shelia Long February 23, 2013 at 12:48 PM
FLS is doing a disservice to the safety of citizens. Hopefully the local Sheriffs Office's will create a very up to date page on their websites so citizens can be aware of home invasions and other crimes being committed without a monetary fee to the reader.


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