A website that's worth something

September 2, 2010 8:33:00 AM

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Today, we began charging for some content on our website, cdispatch.com. This decision, and exactly how we should go about it, came after much internal discussion and debate.  

 

Traffic to our website has nearly doubled just in the past year, averaging more than 10,000 unique visitors and 180,000 page views per week. We didn''t want to alienate that audience. 

 

At the same time, like at virtually all newspapers, our paid subscription base is declining. We often hear how people don''t have time to read the paper, yet find time to read it online. We believe there is at least as much value in the convenience of reading timely news online as there is in reading our print edition. 

 

We understand many people expect information on the Internet should be free. But we believe the work done by our journalists and our other employees is worth something, and offering our robust website to viewers every day comes at a cost. 

 

We hope that we''ve struck a happy medium with our "metered" pricing plan. Content such as local mug shots, classifieds, obituaries and calendar items will remain free. We''ll charge a manageable fee, however, for the work of our reporters, editors and columnists. 

 

Light readers, who read 10 or fewer stories a month, won''t notice the difference.  

 

For many readers, nothing can replace a printed newspaper. At $10 a month, a subscription to The Dispatch is a value that''s hard to beat. 

 

Our website offers a unique experience as well, with breaking news, photos and video, and interactivity between readers, to name just a few differences. We believe this is worth an extra $1.95 monthly charge for subscribers who value both. 

 

For non-subscribers to the newspaper, we think the monthly charge of $7.95 per month isn''t too much to ask, and will help us continue our good work informing the community, and serving as an outlet for news and opinions. 

 

We''re proud of our position as the Golden Triangle''s leading source of news and information. We work hard every day to bring you the best products possible. 

 

A newspaper is only as strong as the community that supports it, and vice-versa. We approach this business as a collaborative enterprise, and cherish our role as "your" newspaper. We appreciate your readership and your support as we move forward into an increasingly digital future.