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Detroit News to offer subscriber-only content starting Aug. 12

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The Detroit News will begin offering a digital subscription next week when it launches a redesigned detroitnews.com for readers who seek full access to all digital content.

It's the first time in the 25-year history of the newspaper's website that it will charge for coverage. The initiative launches Aug. 12 with a refreshed design that loads faster and includes a new reader comment system, said Editor and Publisher Gary Miles.

Detroit News reporter James Dickson is one of the dozens of reporters at The News who focus coverage on Michigan-based issues.

While much of the newspaper's breaking news content will remain available for free, some of the unique, in-depth and original stories will be available to subscribers only, he said. The special introductory rate of a full-access digital subscription will be as little as $3 for the first three months.

"We need our most loyal readers to support the reliable local journalism they've come to know and expect," Miles said. "Long-term, revenue from digital subscribers is an essential part of maintaining our place as the most trusted news source in Michigan."

From the editor: Subscribers must help preserve reporting that holds power to account

Current Detroit News subscribers to the print edition or the eEdition (a digital replica of the print product) will have full access to the exclusive content.

The subscription effort was initiated by Michigan.com, a partnership between the separate owners of The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. Michigan.com serves both papers with combined sales, marketing and business teams under the terms of a Joint Operating Agreement.

A similar effort is underway at the Free Press, access to which would require a separate subscription.

Amid a pandemic, civil unrest and an election season, Americans have sought out local newspapers, including The News, in record numbers. But the economic repercussions of the coronavirus have accelerated the 15-year downward trend in advertising revenue. 

Globally, print advertising in newspapers is expected to shrink by 21% year-over-year, according to London-based consulting firm Zenith Media, with no recovery forecast for the industry and declines predicted into next year, as well. Digital advertising, too, has taken a hit.

Detroit News reporter Christine MacDonald interviews Latasha Tucker at her former Detroit rental home featured in MacDonald 's investigative stories on Detroit foreclosure.

Subscriptions will help offset print advertising revenue as more readers have migrated to reading online. The News had 6.1 million unique digital users in June alone, according to ComScore, a digital analytics firm. 

"This is an important initiative for us," said Eddie Tyner, president of Michigan.com, of the premium plan. "It will enable us to invest more resources into the type of investigative and watchdog journalism that will continue to make the Metro Detroit a great place to live. 

"We believe that keeping the community informed will help people make the best possible decisions for themselves and their families. Instituting a paid subscription for some of our content, like most other major publications across the country, will help us do that more effectively."

To subscribe, readers can go to detroitnews.com/subscribe or to ask a question about the changes, customers can call (800) 395-3300 or email cserv@michigan.com.

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble