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Denton Record-Chronicle readers will now hit a paywall on DentonRC.com after reading three free local news stories a month starting Monday.

Readers who are already subscribers to the paper just need to ensure they are logged in while on the Denton Record-Chronicle website.

Non-subscribers can read three local articles a month before they hit the paywall — a message that will prompt them to log in or buy a subscription and prevent them from accessing other local news stories. The move comes as more publications and services have moved to digital subscriptions, said Bill Patterson, the newspaper’s publisher.

“We’re probably one of the last daily papers around that have held out from putting a paywall up, and we did so purposefully,” Patterson said. “I think consumers now are more used to paying subscriptions for services of all kinds, so we feel a nominal charge for digital consumption of our product is reasonable.”

The move also brings equity to readers — print readers currently pay, while digital readers don’t. As the Record-Chronicle continues to add to the e-edition and online platform, leadership wants to protect that value, said Sean McCrory, executive editor.

“This is less about generating more revenue for the paper and more about recognizing the value, and protecting that value, of the content we provide,” he said. “This paywall is recognizing that we have a number of different mediums that we’re touching, and we want to make sure that we treat each of them fairly.”

Digital-only subscription rates will vary based on how long readers commit to a subscription. Those who sign up for a two-year subscription will pay 99 cents a week, and a 12-week subscription will be $1.99 a week. Accounts will be billed on a monthly basis, Patterson said.

With the paywall, the paper also has launched a mobile app named “DentonRC” for a new digital experience that includes push notifications for local breaking news. There’s also new digital content for subscribers, from interactive puzzles and games to adding The National Weekly in the Sunday e-edition — a 24-page tabloid that covers national and international news from the past week.

With the introduction of the paywall, the newspaper also hopes to form more substantial relationships with readers, McCrory said. There will be digital Q&As with newspaper staff, and within the next three months, the newspaper expects to roll out “News and Brews,” a new off-site program where readers can ask anything they want and engage with employees throughout the newspaper, including the newsroom and advertising and circulation departments.

Readers can continue to expect professionally reported journalism in addition to the new digital content offerings, he said.

“What we provide here you can’t get anywhere else,” McCrory said. “We are the voice of authority on coverage of northern Denton County, particularly Denton. The expertise that goes into producing this newspaper every day is pretty high up there. We have a very experienced, knowledgeable, award-winning staff producing content on a daily basis — and the content we produce enables our readers to make effective decisions, not just on pocketbook issues and government affairs, but also where to go and do things, what’s coming up.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @jennafduncan.

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