Good news for North Shore and Merrimack Valley news junkies. Starting Feb. 1, the Eagle-Tribune papers will open up their Web sites and provide all content for free. Currently, you have to be a paid subscriber to the print edition. The papers include four dailies, the Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, the Daily News of Newburyport, the Salem News and the Gloucester Times.
Here’s the announcement.
What’s interesting about this isn’t that you’ll no longer have to pay. It’s that company executives have embraced the open Web, and now understand that there’s more value to be had — and more money to be made — by building online communities around their journalism.
They’ve been moving in that direction for some time with projects like RallyNorth.net, a separate site dedicated to high school sports and, more recently, the addition of Witches Brew, the Salem High School newspaper. Add in the blogs and multimedia features that are being integrated into the site, and you have a pretty good example of the “news as a conversation” model.
The Eagle-Tribune model is regional, as befits the four papers’ mission. GateHouse Media, which publishes weeklies in just about every community in Eastern Massachusetts (as well as a few dailies), takes a more hyperlocal approach with its Wicked Local sites. Here is the chain’s site for Danvers, which also happens to be one of the towns that the Salem News covers.
Slowly but surely, the news business is reinventing itself.