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Red Box political newsletter goes behind paywall as Times says 'quality journalism should be paid for'

The Times’s popular Red Box political newsletter has been put behind the website’s paywall for the first time, as the title repeats its doctrine that “quality journalism should be paid for”.

The Red Box morning newsletter was launched in August and was available for anyone who signed up via email. It now has more than 40,000 subscribers.

Times Red Box editor Matt Chorley said on Twitter that more than 20,000 Red Box readers already had paid subscriptions for the Times, while “many more” had signed up on Monday morning after the change was announced in the newsletter.

Monday’s newsletter said: “I’m glad you’re still enjoying Red Box, but you are not getting the most out of it without a full subscription to read the stories, columns, interviews, reviews, obituaries and letters which I link to every day.

“So from next week Red Box will only be available to Times subscribers. Obviously modesty prevents me from saying that an award-winning, funny, insightful morning email is worth paying for.”

The Red Box newsletter contains a round-up of the latest political news, a look ahead at the day’s agenda, an insider’s view from Chorley, Yougov data and poll results.

Alan Hunter, head of digital at the Times, said: “In the expert hands of Matt Chorley, and before him Philip Webster, the award-winning Red Box newsletter has built a large, loyal audience of political aficionados who want to wake up to wry humour alongside the Westminster headlines.

“As the award-winning newsletter enters its fifth year we are asking Red Box readers to subscribe to The Times – most already do – because we believe that quality journalism should be paid for.”

As of this week Red Box is only available to Times subscribers to sign up, while current subscribers of the email only have until Sunday night to pay for a Times subscription or lose the newsletter.

The Times is currently displaying a countdown on the Red Box page to show how long readers have to “subscribe before it goes”, with a sale on its trial subscriptions.

Chorley also runs a free weekly Times Red Box podcast in which he gives his perspective on major national and international stories alongside other Times writers and columnists.

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