Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Report: Here's the new paywall FAQ for customers

East Group President Michael Kane e-mailed the document to an unidentified list yesterday. But based on the fill-in-the-blank areas, it appears the document was meant for only a limited audience. Blogger Jim Romenesko has posted it to his site

The most crucial information missing is pricing, according to my review of the FAQ.

We already knew six more papers would be adding paywalls starting about Feb. 1, and that the paywall introduction was to come with a print subscription price increase.

But the FAQ provides details about how the newspapers will sell to the public a service that until now has been free for more than a decade.

New news resources?
One of the most interesting passages in the FAQ implies -- but certainly doesn't promise -- that the higher subscription prices could result in improved news content, because the company "is committed to investing new resources in its news gathering."

Here's that passage, which I'm posting word-for-word:

Why has the cost of single copy gone up? 
As a media company, name of media company, provides news and information that has tremendous value for its readers; people rely on this information more than any other local source. We invest in the largest team of reporters covering our communities. We provide the greatest breadth of topics and content, with depth to help people understand important issues, and we provide a vital forum for community conversation.

Name of media company, is committed to investing new resources in its news gathering efforts. To support new investment initiatives name of media company is raising the suggested retail price.


  1. My only issue is this. I am already getting great news coverage and much better news coverage from other media sources and it's been on a consistent basis. Why would I pay more for something that has been less than stellar in its content with the promise I'll get more if I pay more? Isn't the point of a business to give a customer value at whatever price they're paying? If I'm reading this right, the message I've received is.....We've been giving you crap but if you pay more, we promise to improve.

    After liking one of the TV stations in our area on my facebook page, I have learned that I recieve more local news from that "friendship" on Facebook than I do from the local newspaper. This has become my main source for local news. To this date the local newspaper, on facebook, keeps asking me for my opinion on this, that and the other thing, or wouldn't I like to hatch a deal, or some other stupid play on words for Dealchicken. I am not at all interested in anything this Facebook newspaper "friendship' has to offer. There is no content and I'm trying to figure out a way to "unlike" my newspaper on facebook because I find it so uninteresting.

    1. If you go to the paper's page, therw should be a link to "unlike" it. You can also block them under your account settings

  2. sounds like fees the banks wanted to charge! They will give the same product just charge a fee for greed! There is no other reason! Really!!!!

  3. Isn't this consistent with what you posted earlier about new jobs in Wilmington? I saw they posted three new newsroom jobs in St. Cloud.

  4. We've recently hired three new (young) reporters, which is swell. But to think we'll get any sort of fantastic, investigative reporting out of them is laughable. They're still learning the ropes. Maybe in a year or so. Passion topics be damned.

  5. Putting up a paywall when content is lacking sounds foolish and even insulting to the subscriber. Our local paper goes days without new local items and the top one for the past two days has been a canned press release. "Reader-submitted," "Get Published" and "Staff Report" are all over-the-transom, no-cost content, so where's the value? Or is that it, free content to the paper, behind a paywall to the reader?

  6. Pathetic for a so-called digital news and info company dropping junk that does not answer the most basic of questions. They assume what's left of their readers or subscribers are stupid.

  7. thiis the end of the print edition

  8. 2:27AM - Not just print, it's the end period. Once circulation drops 30-40% from the price increase, how can we demand the rates for advertising, when we have less eyes looking at it?

    I foresee quite a few mom and pop papers popping up in our area within the next year or two.

  9. Thank you, 10:10. Thank you!!!!!

  10. Am I the only one who giggled after reading "name of media company?"

  11. 7:41, I know you may not think highly of the folks at corporate but you can't really believe circulation would drop by 30-40%. Advertising is still 2-3x as much revenue as subscription. Even Detroit didn't drop 30-40% and they stopped home delivery a few days a week.

  12. It's not from Michael Kane the East Group president. It's from Michael Kane the circulation guy in Wilmington.

  13. Furloughed Fury1/13/2012 3:54 PM

    Barn door, horse, you know the rest. Seriously this should have been done 10 years ago when the company had robust content and enough staff to provide it. While I've been in favor of paywalls (paying NYT subscriber here), this is too little, too late since the biggest complaint I hear from readers is about too little content and specifically, "why did you stop covering (fill in name of town, subject, event)."
    I'm really wondering who's going to pony up the cash for the current "Gannett media products". And spare me the suck-out-your-mind corporate double speak about "passion topics" because i will reply "Real News, Real Life, News 2000," and all the other failed nonsense. The last thing we need is a bunch of isolated suits and a glass office deciding what the "Passion Topics" are. It's worked so well in the past.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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