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Tribune launching digital-membership model Tuesday

SUMMARY: West Central Tribune is moving to a digital membership model for readers of its print and digital editions.

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West Central Tribune logo.

West Central Tribune officials have announced that the newspaper on Tuesday will implement a new "digital membership model," embracing all of its platforms — the digital website, wctrib.com; the print edition; the e-paper and email newsletters.

As the media and technology continue evolving, journalism is changing as well. While the newspaper's content used to be published exclusively in the printed paper once a day, the newsroom now publishes in print and throughout the day via our digital channels — mobile, tablet, web or email newsletters.

"The local content created at the West Central Tribune is vital to our readers and has value," said Publisher Steve Ammermann. "We cannot continue giving away our content for free

"Moving to a digital membership model will help provide the necessary resources to continue our excellent news and sports coverage. Loyal members will receive digital access and support community journalism in exchange for premium content and exclusive perks," Ammermann said.

As part of this transition, the West Central Tribune and wctrib.com's newsroom is shifting to a digital-first model representing the future vision of the company's content direction. The newsroom is now creating and providing more content - from the print and web to newsletters and social media.

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"Our audience is continuing to increase their digital demand and is utilizing our digital products more and more," said Editor Kelly Boldan. "This is requiring an investment of newsroom resources and time in our content and websites, such as adding to video and other digital capabilities."

Beginning Tuesday afternoon, the West Central Tribune and wctrib.com will implement the digital membership model, which will provide reader access to Wctrib.com content behind a paywall.

Readers will also gain digital access to all Forum Communications Co. newspapers in the upper Midwest. This membership will include digital and archive access to Forum Communications Co. daily newspapers in Willmar, Brainerd, Duluth, Fargo and Grand Forks, as well as other community newspapers, such as Alexandria, Bemidji, Red Detroit Lakes, Hastings, Red Wing, and Wadena.

As digital readership continues growing, it's important that our newspaper seek support from those who are engaging in our content via our digital channels. Our digital membership model will allow wctrib.com to provide a limited amount of content for free while encouraging those consuming the most content to support our news organization efforts.

The Tribune is joining other Minnesota newspapers — such as the StarTribune of Minneapolis, the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Mankato Free Press — and sister Forum Communications Co. newspapers, including the Duluth News-Tribune and the Rochester Post-Bulletin, requiring non-subscribers to be prompted to pay to read stories on their websites.

All current print and digital subscribers' accounts will transfer to this digital membership model. Digital access is included with your print subscription. All members need to do is activate that access is go to wctrib.com/activate and follow the steps on the screen.

The cost of membership will depend on the offering you choose. We have digital-only membership as low as $9.99 per month for the first month and digital+print membership at a range of price points. To see specific offers available, go to wctrib.com/subscribe.

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A Friday afternoon screen shot of Wctrib.com.

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