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Independent weekly consults readers over online paywall plan

Andrew MosleyAn independent weekly has told readers that journalism is a “costly business” as it consults them over plans to introduce an online paywall.

The Rotherham Advertiser is planning to introduce “membership packages” that would give subscribers access to “premium content” online, among other advantages.

The Advertiser has set out three potential packages for which readers can register their interest, although the prices for the options on offer have not yet been finalised.

In a piece announcing the planned scheme, editor Andrew Mosley told readers journalism was a “costly business”.

Andrew, pictured, wrote: “We are about democracy, providing a platform for the population we represent to voice their opinions, and holding local authorities to account when our community does not believe it has been served well.

“We attend council meetings, courts and inquests and provide a public service that otherwise would not exist in Rotherham. We have more than 30 salaries to pay.

“Reporting on Rotherham United, for instance, costs the monthly wage of the reporter, petrol to places such as Portsmouth and Gillingham, the cost of the page designer and photographer, as well as print and paper.”

Setting out the provisional packages, Andrew said the Advertiser’s premium content would include Rotherham United news, history features and “much more”.

The digital package, worth £4.99 a month, would offer access to the digital edition archives from 2006, exclusive competitions, reader offers & discounts, a free print and online birthday message and discount on friends and family notices.

For a proposed £14.99 a month, print and digital package subscribers would receive a physical copy of the Advertiser each week too.

Andrew added: “Your opinions matter to us and are vital in informing us as to the best way forward for the Rotherham Advertiser.

“In the near future you will notice changes based on what you have told us you would like to happen.

“Our Membership Packages, aimed at enabling the Advertiser to fulfil its commitment to serving the community on its various digital platforms while continuing its weekly print edition, are described below and registering your interest does not commit you to any of the options and will not result in any charges.

“We thank you for your continued support and hope we can work together to ensure the Rotherham Advertiser provides the community with what it needs from its local newspaper.”