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For some, paper’s site won’t be free

Worcester T&G nonsubscribers face ‘metered’ fees

By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / August 16, 2010

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Beginning today, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette will begin charging some online readers for locally produced news content on its website, www.telegram.com.

T&G newspaper subscribers will be able to access all online content for free.

Nonsubscribers will be allowed to read as many as 10 staff-produced articles a month.

Nonsubscribers who want to exceed that number must pay a fee, such as a monthly charge of $14.95, or $1 for a single day’s access.

Anyone who uses the site, including subscribers to the printed newspaper, will be asked to register.

The approach, called a “metered model,’’ is similar to what The New York Times is planning to introduce next year.

(The New York Times Co. owns the Times, the T&G, and The Boston Globe.)

Only stories written by T&G staff will be subject to fees. All other content will remain free to all users, such as stories from news services, photo galleries, and videos.

“The metered model supports our ability to cover local government, from City Hall to schools, and sports from little league to the Boston Celtics,’’ said the T&G’s publisher, Bruce Gaultney.

“It will keep the majority of our site free and only charge nonsubscribers who are reading more then 10 local news articles in a month.’’

The T&G joins a small but growing list of newspapers, such as The Wall Street Journal and Newsday, that already charge for some access to their websites. In Massachusetts, The Standard-Times of New Bedford, part of News Corp., which owns the Journal, started charging in January for its website, southcoasttoday.com. Online subscribers, for example, are charged $3.37 a week, which provides access to all articles, blogs, and video.

The Globe, which operates Boston.com, has not decided whether it will charge for online content. “We are still looking into the possibility of instituting a pay model,’’ said Globe spokesman Robert Powers.

Johnny Diaz can be reached at jodiaz@globe.com.