More newspapers these days are moving to a digital subscription model, much like The News Tribune, which went live with a paywall in December, and The Seattle Times, which plans to launch one this month.
Part of the reason is based on reader tendencies, especially as they relate to media consumption.
For decades, newspapers were compilations of the previous day’s events. First radio and then television threatened to wipe out the industry, but print stood strong because of its ability to go more in depth than the other emerging mediums.
For the past 10 years, news organizations, particularly the larger ones, have shifted resources to focus on breaking and updating stories online throughout each day in order to stay on par — and compete with — others in the market.
Today’s ability to call up real-time news via smartphones, tablets and social media requires a change on our end, because that’s where many readers go to learn about regional events.
We’re getting there, and Facebook, Twitter and blogs all play a role because they help us share our message. Sometimes we use social media channels to solicit feedback; other times, it’s a vehicle to drive traffic to our respective websites.
Most of these new digital models come with full access to their respective websites with a paid subscription the print product. With The News Tribune, you also have the option to pay only for digital access, which is as low at 99 cents per month.
We still have the ability to be more in depth in print, but we also have the capability online to provide more rich content, including photo galleries, videos, links and extended interviews.
The fact that we don’t have to pay for newsprint with websites helps to keep costs down, but it does impact reporters and how they spend each day.
It’s a learning process, and we welcome your feedback and what you value most about your community newspapers.
It’s time for a fresh perspective on page A2, which we label Around Town. We’re kicking around some ideas, such as replacing our “Your Opinion” question of the week with some weekly feedback from our social media pages and story comments.
We’re also considering a recurring question-and-answer piece on someone in town, or a permanent place for our Go & Do calendar, which readers update online and currently runs when we have space available in print.
Don’t worry, we won’t move Cheers & Jeers.
If you have a fun idea that readers might like, let me know and we may include it in the planning process.
Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 253-358-4150 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_brian.