DMN to Charge for Online Offerings

News & Tech says the Dallas Morning News will put much of its website behind a pay wall in the next sixth months. It’s not going to be an easy transition, but it’s a necessary one. Here’s hoping the move (a trend among publishers) works.


  • Sarah

    How much do I pay for a subscription that removes all Steve Blow related content? I will pay that much, twice.

  • SB

    Hopefully this includes a site redesign, because there’s not a chance in hell I’m going to pay to use what they currently throw out there.

  • Dmar

    If you want readership to drop by 2/3rds it’s a brilliant idea

  • publicnewssense

    Will a Belo employee be standing at the library to rap the knuckles of anyone who reaches for the hard copy of the DMN?

  • Bethany Anderson

    It’ll work if the Star-Telegram does it, too. If not, online readers will be able to get their Cowboys news there, or ESPN Dallas, etc.

    You know what I’d rather see? Everyone work together. Instead of it being piecemeal – a publisher here, a publisher there – why not work to build a special RSS reader that you pay to use. Pay one fee, and get access to every single farking newspaper/magazine in the country.

  • Mark

    As posted on Unfair Park, I’d consider paying a couple of dollars a month for an ad-free service from a reliable limited-access server.

    Removing the ads would permit them to display a lot more content, and not just the latest blog chatter, on their homepage. We’d hopefully be able to read the site in a productive manner that more closely mimics the efficiency with which you can scan a printed newspaper.

    No chance I’d pay for the web product as currently available.

    Remember, they tried a version of this a few years ago with and bailed on it after a year or so.

  • Robb

    If their online readership only drops by 2/3 it will be a genius, revenue-generating move. With that said, I’ll never pay to read the news there.

  • CollinBabs

    WTF? Restricting access to news and info to only those who can pay for it. Where’s the ACLU or some constitutional lawyer?????? This stinks.

  • Steve

    Someone thinks they are way more important than they are. This is a giant gift to ESPN Dallas.

    PS: Hey Bethany,

  • SB


    Having the news provided to you isn’t a constitutional right. People have been paying for news since the concept of news-gathering was invented.

  • This will mean:

    – no more linking from yahoo or google news
    – less archived news searches via web
    – less banner impressions and click thru on ads
    – loss of readership to competing, free media
    – some advertising drop off from companies wishing to reach a larger audience
    – Loss of snarky posts about Steve Blow

  • MCC

    The NYT tried this once and scrapped it. Newsday famously had 35 sign-ups in their first three months of going behind a paywall. Any such move by the DMN will fail miserably as well.

  • Jackson

    Bethany’s idea of a fee that gains access to multiple newspaper sites is going to happen at some point, and should. Think of museum memberships. I’m a member of the DMA, and it gets me into a bunch of well known museums, throughout Texas and across the country. It’s an arrangement that’s good for one and all.

  • Wes Mantooth

    Did Jovan sell them on this idea too?

  • heels of tar

    D charges me to read paid ads for plastic surgeons, schools and super lawyers…oh but not online..natch.

  • Mark

    Apparently Zac is still in 2007. Quick, Zac, sell your house and your stocks and buy bonds!

    • Why? Because I used a search engine? That wasn’t my post.

  • Robb

    I honestly think that if newspapers had started charging for the online information at the beginning, they would have fared pretty well (see WSJ). But they didn’t. Publishers were too worried they were going to lose ad revenue…and they were right. They lost it anyway, didn’t they? And now, they plan on charging for something they have been giving away for free?

    If newspapers begin to charge for the content they have been giving away for free, they will legitimize radio station and TV websites that will never charge for what they have. Oh, and radio/TV websites have AP news as well (which the DMN seems to repackage and put in their product anyway).

  • Jackson

    @MCC, the NY Times is returning to the paywall by the end of this year. They swear they’re going to do it a bit differently, to allow first-time linkers from other websites to gain access to said story, but it’ll be a paywall nonetheless.

    The news, as written by their journalists, is their wiget, their product, the thing they sell. Giving it away free has proven to be a poor business model. Go figure.

  •, soon to celebrate its fourth anniversary, will remain free to all. Hell, I wouldn’t even know how to charge anybody.

  • ryan

    Will it have the same ads that seem to bombard you? Whatever the case I’m not paying.

    New York Times, maybe because it is a reputable paper. DMN is getting too big for their britches on this one.

  • CollinBabs

    I won’t pay. Ever. There is no unusual, can’t-get-it-anywhere-else content which would compel me to go behind a paywall for DMN. Yes, I know there is no constitutional right to free news – I was jesting a little in my previous post. But it still stinks to restrict access to information to only those who can pay. I’m sure someone will become an “aggregator” and get all dailies (DMN, Chicago Tribune, etc.) into one site and THEN ask people to pay depending upon the number/category of sites they wish to access.

    I do not pay for website access. Ever.

  • Mark


    Zac, you stated “it’s been 11 years since our last one” and linked to an article from 1996.

    1996 + 11 = 2007.

    Make sense now? See, you snarked, but you were sloppy. Then I snarked back because you made a mistake, but you still didn’t realize the mistake and I had to explain it.

    • @Mark: Sorry! I’m terrible at math. And getting jokes. And other stuff.

  • Maggie

    @collinbabs – why will you never pay for web access? How will the reporters be paid if everyone wants free news sites that are also ad free? Would you work at your job for free? Would your company provide all of it’s services free?

  • marisa

    When you give it away, you can’t turn around and sell it. DMN opened this door and I for one WILL NOT pay. There is NOTHING on their web site that I can’t read on others….. AND better written. DMN seems to have a middle school journalism class writing for them. If it becomes pay-to-read on line they best look at professional writers !

  • J R

    To all the people who say they won’t pay.

    THE DMN DOESN’T CARE!!!!! They raised circulation rates, and a bunch of people dropped their subscriptions. But guess what? They raised the price enough so they’re making a profit on the ones who remain.

    Who gives a damn if deadbeats and haters don’t want the product. There are plenty of paying customers that do want it.

    They’re interested in providing the news for people who are willing to pay for it.

    The rest of you can go read the 5-inch long story/scripts on the TV station websites.

  • Trip

    Why would anyone pay for Cowboys news when ESPN Dallas has better coverage for free? Real smart Dmn.

  • Crewser

    @ Steve: “Someone thinks they are way more important than they are. This is a giant gift to ESPN Dallas.”


    I couldn’t agree more. The Worldwide Sports Leader will become the Local Sports Leader once word gets out about the DMN charging for their sports content.

  • michael

    It will only work if they roll it out with a slick ipad/kindle app like the WSJ uses.

  • Robb

    J R has a point. The real catch he/she is ignoring is what will happen to the revenue from the current online ad stream? They currently make millions in online ad sales. With the pay-per-use site, their traffic will decrease, leaving less revenue from that stream. Will the total revenue from the online subscriptions make up for the decrease in ad revenue? I doubt it does initially…put they have to pull off the band-aid eventually. No business succeeds by making a free product.

  • heels of tar

    Zac, D hasn’t run ads for plastic surgeons since 1997?..oh right.

  • Hannah

    Zac seems to be zeroing in on a specific point (plastic surgery coverage) versus the overall concept – that D asks us to buy magazines that are essentially ads of Dallas professionals patting themselves on the back about how good they are. And, the plastic surgeon content is still there – it just moved from D to D Beauty

    Wouldn’t pay the DMN a penny for their content.

    • @Hannah: Yes, I did zero on a specific point, because it’s one often brought up. But I grant you your point about D Beauty.

      As for “magazines that are essentially ads of Dallas professionals patting themselves on the back about how good they are,” yes, we run Best Doctors, Best Lawyers, Best Financial Planners, probably a few others I’m forgetting right now. But if you read through those issues, that is a fraction of the content included.

      For example, our last Best Doctors issue, in November 2009, also had long stories about a sexual harassment scandal at Dallas Fire-Rescue, how one of the most decorated engineers in the country came to SMU to help reshape the school (and the city), and Jeb Hensarling. And the feature that ran with the Best Docs list was about how younger women are more than twice as likely to have heart attacks as men the same age. We have Best Financial Planners coming in October. If you read the issue, I doubt you’ll remember that feature as the main point of it.

      I’m not saying don’t criticize. Just criticize us for what we actually do.

  • Kyle Rovinsky

    It won’t. And I’ll miss Evan Grant. Here’s hoping you rescue him again, Zac

  • NDallas

    I agree Tim, but this is from the same folks who brought us “CueCat”… just doesn’t sound very hopeful.

  • Helen

    I’ll miss reading it, as will many of us who used to live there and read from afar.

  • Borborygmous

    Did anyone besides me catch the really, really good Diane Rehm show a few weeks ago about how the newspaper business model is succeeding with some publications? It’s worth listening to and is probably on podcast.