Lessons on paywalls from a small local newspaper

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Two years after launching its paywall, the Shawnee Mission Post in northeast Kansas is thriving.

“[Small publishers] just don’t really see the value in what they do. They’re not forcing others to see that value,” Westhoff said. “For us, [introducing the paywall] was at the breaking point of ‘we’re going to do this or we’re going to be done.’ We are really grateful that it did work out. For us, after having doing the site for seven years, that needed to happen.”

Today, the small-town paper charges $5.95 a month to more than 2,000 subscribers. These subscriptions have proven to be such a reliable revenue stream that the Post plans to reduce its display advertisements next year.

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