Bethesda Beat Tuesday launched a membership program for its readers.

Editor and Publisher Steve Hull said revenue from the membership program will help defray the costs of producing Bethesda Beat and, eventually, permit even more coverage.

“High quality, independent journalism is more important than ever, nationally and locally,” Hull said. “We hope our readers will support our efforts to keep them informed and to keep local government accountable.”

Hull said Bethesda Beat has been successful selling advertising, but that revenue from ad sales does not cover Bethesda Beat’s expenses. “Local news is expensive to produce,” he said. “We have four talented journalists who are out every day reporting on news that you won’t find anywhere else.”

Depending on the level of membership, Bethesda Beat members will receive a variety of benefits including exclusive “Behind the Beat” reports, invitations to members-only events and monthly $10 gift certificates to leading local restaurants.