Last week, readers of The Oregonian started seeing a new feature on the newspaper's website: a tag marking its enterprise stories as "Exclusive."
That label is the slow rollout of the paper's web paywall.
As Editor Therese Bottomly explained in a June 14 column, The Oregonian has for much of 2020 been asking readers to pay $10 a month for a digital subscription. "The digital subscription was an important but largely symbolic gesture of support since the news remained free to all on our website," Bottomly wrote. "The new Exclusive label is a move toward changing that."
For more than two years, executives with The Oregonian's owner, Advance Publications, have told staffers that a web paywall is likely. Bottomly's column confirmed it had arrived.
In response to follow-up questions from WW, she said the paywall will probably launch in July, and readers can only access "Exclusive" stories after paying the $10 entry fee.
"After we go to subscriber-only access, likely sometime next month, readers will not be able to read any Exclusive material without subscribing," Bottomly says. "Of course, even then, most material on OregonLive will still be accessible to all."
The paywall launch comes amid a year when American newspapers are being clobbered by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on advertising. The Oregonian has so far avoided layoffs, although it is making its reporters take pay cuts and unpaid furloughs.