Sources close to the paper have confirmed to The DC Writup they plan to charge readers for online content starting as early as the end of the summer. According to the article, the Times would be the first non-financial newspaper to charge for online access. The Times is toying with three ideas for online browsing — charge a flat monthly fee, charge customers on an article-by article basis, charge different amounts for different readership packages — in an attempt to compensate for drastically decreased print and online ad revenue.
In theory, this is a good idea. But when online viewers can still get news for free on other Web sites, they risk alienating both casual and loyal readers. Although maybe the move will shift readers back to print, since newspapers are at least tangible proof of monetary expenditures.