Regional newspaper group Johnston Press today launched its 'small scale' three month trial for paid-for news, but insisted it has no current plans to place further titles behind the pay wall.

"[The trial] is expected to give Johnston Press important insight into its consumers' preferences, enabling the company to better understand the relationship between its print and online products (...) There are no current plans to place further titles behind a pay wall," the company said in a release.

Johnston Press has selected three of its weekly regional titles, the Southern Reporter in Scotland, the Northumberland Gazette and the Whitby Gazette, 'to pioneer the new way of accessing premium content online' by offering news, sport and other 'live' content only to paying subscribers.

Meanwhile, Carrick Gazette, Worksop Guardian and Ripley and Heanor News 'will be directing readers back to the newspaper after a summary of each story'.

From 30 November, readers of the Gazette website will only be able to access the first few words of a story and they must then pay a £5 quarterly for all premium content on the site, the newspaper explained. "They will then receive access to the whole site for three months, which still works out at less than the cost of the paper."

Johnston Press says it is not getting sufficient value from giving it away free on the internet, the Whitby Gazette reported.

"It is widely accepted in the industry that online advertising revenues are not covering the costs of the gathering of news and various media organisations are exploring ways of redressing the balance."

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