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Guardian launches £25 a year membership scheme

"It is about strengthening our most important relationship, our readership, and in turn providing a

As the Times and Sunday Times prepare to launch their online paywalls - Guardian News and Media today unveiled a £25 a year membership scheme for readers. Membership of the scheme is free to subscribers and entitles readers to benefit from a range of special offers mainly involving cultural events.

The Guardian is organising a series of Meet the Journalist events as well as visits to its newsroom and print site.

The Extra scheme promises readers a "a range of discounts and offers from across a wide range of sectors and with a variety of partners. From live debates, newsroom visits and masterclasses, to special offers on films, festivals and performances, Extra events and activities are a natural extension of our editorial pages."

Richard Thompson, head of membership at Guardian News & Media, said: "Extra will be different from traditional newspaper membership schemes in that events and activities will be truly reflective of the Guardian and the Observer's editorial coverage. It will provide us with a unique opportunity to explore many areas of mutual interest. It is about strengthening our most important relationship, our readership, and in turn providing a range of benefits that they wouldn't get elsewhere."

Dominc Ponsford is the editor of the Press Gazette.

Dominic Ponsford is editor of Press Gazette