Island Echo is reaffirming its commitment to providing Isle of Wight news first, fast and for free in the same week that the Isle of Wight County Press, owned by Newsquest, has started charging for its online news stories.
Up until Wednesday, no local news outlets charged for reading stories online but the IWCP has now introduced a cost of £2 (for the first 2 months), increasing to £4.99 a month thereafter. The charge comes in after 40 articles are viewed, with registration compulsory after 20 articles.
Furthermore, the cover price of the printed edition has quietly increased by another 10p this week to £1.10.
A recent survey of Island Echo readers revealed that 98% would be against a paywall, so today (Friday) we are providing a commitment to our readers that Island Echo will not be introducing any kind of paywall. Our stories will remain free, all of the time.
The introduction of the County Press’ paywall comes despite a recent Freedom of Information request revealing that the County Press receives, on average, £70,000 a year from the Isle of Wight Council alone – that’s more than any other local media company. Island Echo doesn’t even see 10% of that revenue, despite being the Island’s leading news source.
Darren Toogood, Editor/Publisher of Island Echo, says:
“I genuinely feel this is the biggest change in the local media landscape since Island Echo burst onto the scene in 2012. It provides an opportunity for truly local and independent news providers like ourselves to thrive and continue delivering news as it happens, 24 hours a day.
“As my counterpart once said, I ask the public to appreciate the way our reporters try their best to get it right and do it in the right way.
“Island Echo has been around for a long time – 9 years now in fact – and will be here for a long time to come, serving the Island and it’s people… but who knows what the future holds for others”.
Thanks to Twitter user Dan for sharing these photos of how Island Echo’s website compares to others…
— Dan (@islandpc) April 14, 2021