Last week, The Area News introduced a local news subscription package for its website, meaning anyone wanting to read more than just the headlines needs to sign up.
In time – 30 days from signing up, to be precise – that subscription service will be accompanied by a fee to be deducted on a monthly or annual basis. The fee is $3.00 a week, or 43 cents a day.
We have made no secret that this change was coming.
While it might have seemed sudden to some of our readers, in truth we here at The Area News had been building towards it for several years.
It is a major step for our business, and we can assure you the decision has not been taken lightly.
Since the change, our phones, inboxes and Facebook pages have been inundated with feedback from community members. Some of it has been positive and some of it has been negative – most of the latter, unsurprisingly, on social media.
The Area News has been publishing our local journalism online for years. It’s only natural that some people might baulk at the prospect of now paying for it.
While some of the comments on social media this week have been ill-informed, we have also had the pleasure of talking to plenty of people who care deeply about the Griffith community, just like we do.
And we are greatly encouraged by the support of our new digital subscribers.
Thank you to those who have offered feedback. It has been truly humbling to see how important The Area News is to people’s lives and how deeply people care about the journalism that keeps Griffith connected.
Good community journalism costs money.
There is a cost involved in sending a reporter to a council meeting on a Tuesday night, or to the courthouse on a Wednesday, or to the football on a Saturday.
For 95 years our newspaper has had a cover price. Introducing subscriptions for website access is a natural and necessary evolution for The Area News in a digital world, and allows our audiences to choose the way they want to support us.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same.
As ever, we remain fiercely determined to tell great stories about the wonderful people in our community.
We did that this week, as we have been doing every week since 1923.