Pay wall goes up around Big Island newspapers

Over the weekend, Big Island blogger Damon Tucker tripped over the paywall at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today. He described his experience in a blog post yesterday(“End of Free Online News From Big Island’s Main Stephens Media Newspapers“).

Here are the new “Digital Only” rates for the Tribune-Herald being quoted online:

Please select from the following options:

$ 7.95 Monthly Online Subscription
Get full access to all content on for just $7.95/month.

$ 84.00 Annual Online Subscription

Free Monthly Access for Print Subscribers

Subscriptions will automatically renew. You may cancel at any time. You will be notified in advance of any price increases. Sales tax may apply.

West Hawaii Today is even worse.

Please select from the following options:

$ 11.95 Monthly Online-Only Subscription

Get full access to all content on, including access to its e-Edition, for just $11.95/month.

$ 119.50 Annual Online-Only Subscription Access for Home Delivery Subscribers

Subscriptions will automatically renew. You may cancel at any time. You will be notified in advance of any price increases. Sales tax may apply.

Ouch! That’s more than the Star-Advertiser has been charging.

The fee seems relatively high.

11 responses to “Pay wall goes up around Big Island newspapers

  1. On Sunday and Monday April 8 and April 9, I went to the websites for both newspapers, as I do every day, and had no trouble reading every article that interested me, with no demand for payment. I read a few articles from the “home” pages, and I also read a few articles from some of the sections by clicking on the section first and then clicking on the specific article inside the section. I cannot explain or imagine what happened to your reader who complained about a pay wall, but I had no problem. *Shhh! Don’t tell anybody. Maybe the newspapers forgot about me.

    • What you will soon find, if you haven’t already, is that HTH and WHT start charging after you read 10 articles in a 30-day period.

      Neither says how the 30-day period is calculated.

  2. Well that’s the way the news business seems to be going these days-more bottom line emphasis than news emphasis. Until some fugures out how to come with a good online alternative that pays for itself we are stuck.

    • News biz just needs to find a way to suppress the freedom of expression by people on the Internet, and they will rake in as much as Rupert Murdock.

      Not hard to do, actually. Just follow the censorship practices of China, Cuba, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and create a similar insidious business plan. Chances are, someone somewhere is trying to do this right now.

  3. The only on-line access that I purchase is for the New York Times. It is the one indispensable source for national and international news. For the rest I am happy to read what is offered for free, but would never subscribe, thereby returning myself to the information world that existed when literally reading paper was the only option. The challenge for “local” papers anywhere in the U.S. is to retain the readership of non-locals who would never pay in any circumstance–but who increase their audiences–while charging locals who “should” be paying. The Star-Advertiser does this by charging different rates, but the result is inflaming to local readers who can’t rationalize the enormous difference in the two rates.

  4. Ian,

    I just read the following:

    “…As many newspapers throughout the country have done in the past year, we will begin charging for online subscriptions on April 2nd. …”

    So I apparently didn’t notice it for a few days… either that, or I don’t visit the sites as often as I thought I did.

  5. Richard Gozinya

    Almost all the pay sites provide the first 2 sentences of each article for free. So what I do is read that far and then make up the rest of the story using my imagination. Some of the stories have amazing endings.

  6. is still free, without most of the junk that clutters up the newspaper (features of ridiculous fashion, pretentious “foodie” crap, the usual cleavage shots of interchangeable bimbettes at interchangeable nightclubs, etc.). I imagine local TV news companies are enjoying significant growth in their online viewership.

  7. Are they still trying to bust their unions? Or are they now using a paywall to fund their prior, failed union-busting efforts? Either way, that’s a good reason not to pay.

  8. The haves and the have-nots is widening.

  9. Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.

    …Finding “quality” is the conumdrum.

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