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January  16,  2012

Delaware Online will cost you

The News Journal will begin charging for full access to its Delaware Online website on Feb. 7.

A long self-congratulatory article published on the site and in the newspaper included no details concerning the move, including how much it will cost and how an electronic subscription will relate to a print one.

The local company, owned by the Gannett chain of 82 daily newspapers, becomes one of a fast-growing number of news organizations that have decided to no longer provide a free Internet version consisting mostly of articles which are offered for sale in their newspapers. In recent years traditional newspapers have lost both circulation and advertising revenue as a result of their publishing company competing agaist itself.

The Sunday article claimed that the News Journal traces its history back to the Delaware Gazette, which is recognized as the first news sheet published in Delaware on a sustained basis. Jacob Killen, a Wilmington printer, started it in 1785. Under various titles and ownership, it continued until 1831. Actually the current newspaper is an amalgamation of three newspapers -- Evening Journal and Every Evening and Wilmington Morning News -- owned by feuding membrs of the Du Pont family -- Alfred I., Pierre S. and William -- in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were combined into one company, owned by Christiana Securities, the family investments-holding company, in 1933. Gannett bought the company for $60 million in 1978.

Latest available information lists the News Journal as 89th largest daily in the nation based on average circulation, given as 87,138.

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