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Los Angeles Times Prepares to Go Behind a Paywall

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Sorry freeloaders, you've only got a little over a week to get your fill of free Los Angeles Times articles.Starting on March 5, the Times is putting up a paywall. If you want to read more than 15 articles at the Times in a month, you're going to have to cough up some money, the Times says. The porous paywall (not unlike the New York Times') will be launched with an introductory rate for the first few weeks:

After the 99 cents for the first four weeks, the rate will rise to $1.99 a week in a package that also includes the Sunday newspaper. Digital-only access will cost $3.99. Online access will be included at no extra charge for print subscribers.

The Times isn't calling it a paywall or digital subscription, like other newspapers that have tried to stave off steep drops in circulation, including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Times is calling it a "membership," which sounds a little douchey, but the paper is hoping that Angelenos will bite so they can get "retail discounts, deals and giveaways" in addition to news about the "Los Angeles Lakers, the USC Trojans, Hollywood and the entertainment industry."Kevin Roderick over at LA Observed points out that the Times used the announcement of its paywall as an opportunity to announce some important news for the newspaper: the Times is killing the newspaper versions of its Health, Food and Home sections and rolling them into a section called "Saturday." (We have a guess about which day this section might appear.) Normally, we'd think this was a sign that these sections are going to be decimated, but the Times did just win a bidding war over Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold.

So what do you think, fair readers: Are you ready to cough up a few bucks to read the Times?