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Weekly newspaper to move from part-free to wholly paid-for

A weekly newspaper has announced it is moving from part-free to wholly paid-for, saying giving away copies is “not the right model” for the industry in future.

The Fenland Citizen, part of the Iliffe Media group, will no longer be available as a free title from next week with readers charged a cover price of £1.20.

The title is also offering a digital subscription at £4.99 a month which will also give readers access to the news from 30 other Iliffe Media titles.

Editor Jeremy Ransome set out the changes in an editorial headlined ‘Trusted news is well worth paying for.’

Wrote Jeremy: “The Fenland Citizen has been the leading source of trusted news in March, Chatteris, Wisbech, Long Sutton and surrounding villages since 1845.

“It has a long and proud history of independent reporting, and in recent years has evolved along with readers to provide news on the platforms they choose.

“From next week we will be changing again as we make the move to a fully paid-for newspaper. The Fenland Citizen will no longer be available as a free newspaper.

“We know some of our readers, who have been able to pick up the Citizen for free, may not welcome the news – but we also hope you will agree £1.20 is a small price to pay to allow us to continue to invest in our editorial team and report without fear or favour.

“Rising costs in newsprint, transport and energy mean this is the right time for the Citizen to take the next step.

“If you prefer to receive your news online, you can take advantage of our innovative app which will give you access to the Citizen and every other paper in the Iliffe Media portfolio in one place.
That includes our twice-weekly Lynn News as well as titles across Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.”

Added Jeremy: “Many people are already happy to pay for the Citizen, while others have been able to pick it up for free.

“In an age of fake news on social media, it’s more important than ever that we provide trusted news in the areas we serve.

“That news costs money, which is why the model of giving away free copies is not the right one for the future.

“Of course, our website will continue to provide breaking news, but we hope many of our print readers will feel our full package is worth paying for – you can’t get much for £1.20 these days!”

The digital subscription, also available for an annaul fee of £54.89, offers readers access to the latest page-turning edition of the newspaper on tablet, PC or smartphone.

It comes with free access to more than 30 other Iliffe newspapers as well as access to the premium version of the Citizen’s website – with exclusive content and no adverts.