Grump: Thanks for listening about paying for access to online stories, photos

‘Grump’ is part of his email address, but he’s anything but.

He’s been active in the community forever and a hands-on enthusiast of York County history.

So I winced a bit in reading his email:

Jim,

“Although I have the YDR delivered at home, I don’t think I should then have to pay addition fees for online use. I only bring to your attention for one reason; as a local history student I can no longer access your articles, or the many other history related articles online.

“Although I understand the need to require non subscriber to pay for access to the news portion of the paper, a choke hold has been placed on the local history enthusiasts. I believe this will reduce readership to all those who do a wonderful job of reminding the people who live in York County, of the who, what, where, when, and how of our local history.

“Perhaps a remedy would be to allow full access to the history title pages http://www.yorkblog.com/ without charge, and the news portion of the web could remain subscription. I sure one of your IT people know how to make that happen! Thanks for listening… .”

My response:

Dear Grump (not),

You’re right as usual. We could put the blogs in front of the paywall. In fact, I’m sending you this reply, and you’ll be able to open it at no charge because this blog, YDR Insider, is excepted from the paywall. We thought a blog where we attempt to transparently tell you what’s going on in and around our newsroom should be so.

But we also believe that the content on ydr.com, yorkblog.com and all our other sites has value. And it costs us something to produce it – even those history posts on yorktownsquare.com and our other history sites.

In a way, it’s gratifying to know that you believe these history stories and photographs have value. And by putting a charge on it, that fact is reinforced.

You make an interesting argument that subscribers should get a break. Keep in mind that they do pay a reduced price, $1.99 monthly versus $5.99 for non-subscribers. But again, please remember that those stories online are a separate product line. A good part of what’s online never appears in the newspaper.

I should say quickly that this paywall project is still a trial, an experiment.

Important people in our company read posts such as this one. I don’t know how they have time to do so, but I guarantee that they see them. They are more interested than you may know about how the public is viewing the paywall.

Who knows? They might decide to make the paywall, well, history.

Thanks for writing,

Jim

P.S. For more about paywalls, check out our online subscription category.


 

 

 

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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