Digital subs are the next wave for newspapers

For nearly 20 years, The Whidbey Examiner has been providing loyal readers with coverage they can count on.

The industry has been transformed many times over the decades, incorporating websites and, later, social media.

Our most avid website readers will notice something new starting Thursday.

When you click on your fifth story link, a message will appear letting you know you’ve used up your allotment of free articles for the month. All website readers will be prompted to either register their print subscription account for full online access at no additional charge and others will be invited to subscribe.

We are now asking our readers who enjoy and depend on the whidbeyexaminer.com to pay for the content, just as our print customers have done all these years.

The price is modest, just 99 cents for the first month of full access to the website and all that it offers. After that, the price will convert to regular subscription pricing, just $19.50 per year. The best part is, if you already subscribe to the print edition of The Whidbey Examiner, your digital subscription is included in the fee you already pay.

It was just two years ago that only 10 percent of newspapers in the United States charged for their websites. A year ago, that number doubled to 20 percent. Now, published reports bring that number to 30 percent of newspaper sites require digital subscriptions.

This shift in the newspaper industry toward charging for web content is rooted in some very important factors:

Value: Gathering and reporting the news requires a trained staff of professionals who believe in community journalism and ensuring that you have the information you need to make informed decisions. From breaking news to events coverage, its these journalists — people who live and work among you — who are telling your stories and recording local history.

Fairness: Gathering, verifying and writing news and taking photos takes time and money. From the moment the website was launched, our print customers have footed the costs of reporting the news. Online readers have not, despite access to breaking news and the added ability to interact with others and the newspaper through online commenting.

Connection: Our best customers are our longest-time customers. We appreciate and honor this loyalty. Time and again you’ve shown us that you need and want community journalism like that found inside the pages of every edition of The Examiner.

Digital subscriptions are the next step in the evolution of newspapers. They will strengthen our ability to forge the same connection with online readers that we enjoy with print subscribers. It will allow your community newspaper to provide the kind of community coverage you’ve come to rely on.


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