Dallas Morning News planning paid website

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Posted: Monday, August 30, 2010 12:10 pm

The Dallas Morning News plans to convert a portion of its website to paid access within the next six months, News & Tech has learned.

The Morning News' strategy will include walling off stories written by the paper's staff writers as well as content about the reader-favorite Dallas Cowboys.

Associated Press and other wire service-generated stories would continue to be free and breaking news stories with fewer than 150 words would also be free, at least initially.

Seven-day-a-week print subscribers will still be able to see all of dallasnews.com's content free of charge. The Morning News charges new subscribers up to $33.95 per month for home delivery, and $37.95 for mail delivery, among the industry's steepest subscription rates for a general-circulation daily.

A Morning News manager with knowledge about the paper's plans didn't return calls seeking additional comment.

A.H. Belo Corp., which owns The Morning News, has been weighing a number of options regarding how it might monetize its online content. At this year's mediaXchange, Morning News CEO and Publisher James Moroney III told the audience that The Providence (R.I.) Journal, another Belo property, was also looking at ways to limit the amount of website content available to nonsubscribers.

Walling off locally generated content appears to be a growing trend among papers blocking nonsubscribers' access to their websites. Two weeks ago, The Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, Mass., followed a similar tact with its paywall.

The Morning News' initiative comes after Belo last week announced it had tapped CCI Europe to deploy its NewsGate CMS to underpin the publisher's online and editorial management. The first installation will occur at The Morning News, beginning early next year with dallasnews.com. The software, which will be integrated with Escenic's digital publishing platform, will then be used to produce The Morning News' print edition later in the year.

"Upgrading to CCI NewsGate, with their collaboration with Escenic, helps us integrate the workflows of publishing a daily newspaper while continually updating a wide array of digital platforms, improving newsroom efficiency," Moroney said in a statement.

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