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Regional daily launches appeal for online reader donations

Machray newA regional daily has launched a drive for donations from readers of its website to help pay for ‘trusted news.’

The Liverpool Echo has introduced the option for readers to make a voluntary contribution towards its journalism.

The Echo is the first Reach plc title to launch such an appeal after Archant began a similar scheme last month.

Contributors can make one-off, monthly or yearly donations of any amount they like under the scheme.

An announcement published on the Echo’s site this morning reads: “For 141 years the Echo has fought for communities, held authorities to account and told the stories of Merseyside’s remarkable people.

“Our online news is free - for everyone.

“To help us keep covering Merseyside, we’re asking readers to consider contributing towards our work. It’s quick, easy, optional, and you can give as much or as little as you like.

“You’ll be investing in trusted news when it is needed more than ever. Please help give Merseyside the coverage it deserves.”

Ali Machray, editor-in-chief of the Echo, said: “The Echo has been covering Liverpool and Merseyside for 141 years.

“We have fought for our communities, held the authorities to account, campaigned on important issues and told the heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking, stories of the remarkable people of this unique region.

“It’s no secret that our industry faces serious challenges – and at the same time, more people are reading us than ever before.

“Our intention behind this optional contribution request is to sustain great journalism; keep growing, keep improving, keep Liverpool moving forwards.”

The announcement is the latest in a series of moves by regional publishers designed to encourage readers to contribute to the cost of journalism.

Newsquest has recently introduced a subscription option across the websites of all of its regional daily titles, while a number of JPIMedia dailies also operate metered paywalls online.

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, a Reach plc stablemate of the Echo, previously ran a subscription-free paywall trial which saw readers charged 25p for access to some articles up to a maximum charge of £1 per week.

The five-month experiment was halted earlier this year.