Trend: Washington Post announces it, too, will charge for its website

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Post announced Monday that it, too, will start charging frequent users of its Web site, asking those who look at more than 20 articles or multimedia features a month to pay a fee, although the company has not decided how much it will charge.

It is expected to be implemented sometime this summer, The Post said.

The paper said, however, that it would exempt large parts of its audience from having to pay the fees. Its home-delivery subscribers will have free access to all of The Post’s digital products, and students, teachers, school administrators, government employees and military personnel will have unlimited access to the Web site while in their schools and workplaces.

Access to The Post’s home page, section front pages and classified ads will not be limited.

The step marks a major change for The Post, which has shied away from what is known as a "pay wall" for fear of driving away readers and online advertisers. It now joins a long list of other daily publications that charge for content, including the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Boston Globe and New York Times.

Katharine Weymouth, publisher of The Post, said  in a meeting for staff members that charging more and more for print subscriptions while giving away content for free online was “a wholly irrational proposal for our readers.”