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We're changing our Web site

By Judith Patrick
Sunday, July 26, 2009
| 80 comments

I love overhearing people talk about a story they’ve read in The Gazette.

It happens a lot in the morning as I head into work, stopping along the way to buy coffee, work out at the Y or pick up dry cleaning. I don’t care if they loved the story or hated it. I’m just happy that the previous day’s work has come to its rightful conclusion.

Such was the case one morning this past week. I was at the gym and the conversation to my right was about an article in that morning’s Gazette.

The talk put a little spring in my workout, until one of the men said: “I’ll have to go online and read it. I don’t get The Gazette.” As the managing editor of The Gazette, that’s not what I want to hear. But the timing of the comment, given the struggle newspapers all over the country are facing, was ironic.

Beginning Aug. 3, we’re changing how our Web site functions, offering unlimited access to subscribers but restricting access to those who aren’t. We launched our free online Web site in December 2007, much later than most newspapers around the country.

Since then, our newsroom has come to appreciate how the Web site, with its vast digital capabilities, can add to what we do as journalists. Frankly, while most of us in the newsroom were anxious to aggressively join the online competition, people on the business side of our operation didn’t much like the idea of giving our product away for free. It didn’t make sense, especially because the outlook for online advertising revenue was, at that point, far more a hope than money in the bank.

Our new Web site made much of our content — our articles, photographs, columns and reviews — available for free. Since then, our Web site has developed and grown in popularity, with thousands of visitors reading our stories and blogs.

We’re proud of our Web site, which reflects what we are: a small, family-owned newspaper serving the Capital Region. With that in mind, we’ve decided to change the structure of our Web site in a way that offers more information to the people who pay for our paper — our subscribers — but less information to those people who do not.

The change, effective Monday, Aug. 3, will give subscribers unlimited Web access to our new and expanded Web content, as well as to our online electronic replica of the day’s paper. Together, the two versions provide a comprehensive view of the news we cover.

Customers, who now pay $4 a week for home delivery, will continue to pay $4 a week via a special combination package: $3.99 for the print subscription and a penny more for our online subscription. Online-only subscriptions will also be available, at $2.95 a week.

Non-paying visitors will still have access to some of our Web site. They will, for example, be able to read our blogs, check TV schedules, look at our photo galleries and monitor breaking news. They will not, however, be able to read the full text of our local stories, reviews, obituaries and columns or post comments on stories.

We hope that the many people who have become accustomed to reading our stories for free have appreciated our hospitality and understand our decision, which still welcomes them to visit but no longer gives them the same access to content that paying customers have.

That is likely wishful thinking, particularly at a time when so many people have come to expect that the Web is a world where news should be free. The debate that comes with the exchange of ideas is an essential part of our society. We think the stories we write are, in our own small way, an important part of the debates here in our backyard.

At the same time, our news content has a value that we need to protect in order to safeguard our business and, ultimately, our ability to do what we do.

Reporters, whose focus has long been on the news — not the business — of journalism, love having their stories read by as many people as possible. They usually haven’t worried much about whether the reader had the paper delivered to his doorstep each morning, bought it at the corner store or read it online.

They care a lot more nowadays, in part because our newspaper — like so many others around the world — is dealing with declining circulation and advertising revenues. In the past year, we have seen far too many longtime people in our industry laid off, a reality that has given us all a better understanding of the business dynamics of our industry.

Now, more than ever, we understand that there has to be an effective business model in place to enable us to keep doing what we in the newsroom do. We can’t blame the Internet for all the industry’s struggles.

As the recession of the past year has slowed our economy, our customers — our subscribers and our advertisers — have reduced spending in ways that directly affect us. Newspapers around the world, many with staggering financial challenges, are facing the same pressures. Some have closed. Some have sought the protection of bankruptcy courts. Nearly all are searching for ways to generate online revenue.

For us, the decision became fairly simple. The news we produce has value and we want to protect it in a way that best serves our loyal subscribers and our business.

The decision will frustrate, annoy and perhaps anger non-subscribers. But the decision, I think, affirms the value of our work to our communities. Our Web site is an important part of our newspaper. Reporters who once left the office with just a notebook and pen are now grabbing videocameras as well. We’re all thinking about different ways of providing information, from complex databases to interactive calendars, to our readers.

At the same time, we’re still devoted to that trusty print edition that rolls off our presses each night and serves as a foundation for all we do.

Want to know more? Click here for details about how the new site will function.

 
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comments

July 26, 2009
8:31 a.m.

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davidgiacalone says...

You're right: I'm frustrated and annoyed by this reversion to an online policy similar to one that failed prior to December 2007. The biggest problem for myself and other people with weblogs is the inability to link to your articles when discussing Schenectady news and issues. In effect, you will no longer be the "newspaper of record" online for our community -- the voice of Schenectady to the world beyond your hardcopy distribution zone. I will no longer be able to point my readers to the Gazette and they won't be able to do so at their own weblogs. When a local story of interest deserves web coverage, I'll be looking at the websites of your competitors for coverage.

July 26, 2009
8:50 a.m.

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AnnieB says...

Oh no! What a disaster. Not only will Schenectady once more disappear from all view, but obituaries too! Know what obituaries are? They are a way to tell everyone that knows a person that they are gone. That's everyone...not just local people but anyone who scans the web for the name of that person! I'll be once again warning all my Schenectady friends that they need to instruct their families to be sure to get their obits in the Albany Times-Union, NOT the Daily Gazette. Useless. We buy the paper every day (delivery not timely for us early birds) and so it doesn't matter to us...until we travel! I hope that at least you would include publicly the name and date for each obit, and the funeral home, so people could connect there. We are indeed lucky that channel 9 and the TU exists so that Schenectady gets a few hits in google or yahoo news. For shame, Ann B'Rells

July 26, 2009
10:05 a.m.

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davidgiacalone says...

p.s. As of August 3rd, scores of links to the Gazette from my weblogs will be broken. Every day, Google refers people from around the world to my sites on issues from sex offenders, police code of silence, and economic development projects, to pink flamingos and Frank Duci's grocery-list will. They will learn that we cannot count on the Gazette being available as a resource for the Schenectady angle on these topics -- and they will surely not be willing to pay your new fee of $2 to see a single article.

July 26, 2009
11:12 a.m.

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cloverfield says...

What is the status of people who subscribe to the Friday, Saturday and Sunday issues -- are they left out too?
I was a daily subscriber to the Gazette for years and even though, in theory, I would like to support the Schenectady newspaper I cut back my subscription.
Like the Daily Gazette I, too, have to watch my bottom line. The cost of a Gazette subscription went up while content was eliminated or compressed.
Thank goodness for the Times-Union and their wonderful web site!

July 26, 2009
12:58 p.m.

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nypolarbear123 says...

This is pathetic.

The gazette does not require it's carriers to deliver the paper in the morning in time for people to read it during breakfast, or take it to work with them.

So, I buy it at work. But if I have time, I will hop on the computer before I leave for work.

Now, figure this. If I subscribe to the paper, I can't read it before I go to work because the gazette refuses to mandate that carriers deliver before normal people leave for work. I start at 7:00, if I subscribed, I would arrive at work without the newspaper. Then, as cannot use work computers for personal stuff, I would be unable to read the compter version. So, I have no choice but to buy the paper at full price and lose my ability to read something online at home.

Not to mention, as a co-worker told me, he sent a story from a few years ago about a local church that closed this year, to some former members of this church who moved far away. People who moved out of the area will never be able to read those sentimental stories, nor do kind of like research stuff with old stuff.

For shame on the gazette. The tale about the advertisers don't like is pure BS. How come the advertisers don't have problems with all the other local newspapers who provide all their content, the full paper AND the archives, AND many special features to everyone all over the world at no cost?

July 26, 2009
6:20 p.m.

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TomBaker says...

RIP website

July 26, 2009
11:27 p.m.

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nypolarbear123 says...

Can the Gazette staff reply to this....

WHY are you choosing to take obits off the website except for subscribers.

Can you please explain how family members all over the world will be able to view obits? Why are you choosing to deny people?

Your obits have the link to the guest book, are you going to make the guest book available ONLY to subscribers?

Guess what, you'll be out of business soon. Why would ANYONE pay money to the gazette when you can get the TU absolutely free INCLUDING archives.

Thank goodness your main competitor cares about people----they have obits on line at no charge

July 27, 2009
5:52 a.m.

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annarondac says...

RIP Gazette. Would anyone go to a supermarket that offered samples to taste or one that just offered pictures.

July 27, 2009
9:18 a.m.

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grant18 says...

Must be that retiring changes your outlook on many things - I've been a print subscriber for 30 years & will continue to be but I check out the on-line edition every day - and I'm OK with this!

July 27, 2009
10:06 a.m.

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CPMark says...

Wouldn't it have been good to note that you tried this once before, instead of just talking about launching the free Web site in 2007? I'm actually someone who is going to consider subscribing -- you do have a good newspaper -- but you're going to need to gain some credibility with me by at least relating the history of this correctly. You guys were the first and only Capital Region daily newspaper to try charging for access, and it failed.

July 27, 2009
10:57 a.m.

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lor662 says...

How unfortunate . . . that the entire newspaper industry screwed up this internet business so thoroughly that people now expect all news for free all the time? We don't expect any other professionals to do their work for free, how could we expect journalists to?

Commenters might have a point with the obits, though; I suspect people do need to search them.

I grew up in Schenectady, and while I no longer live there, I care what happens and want to stay informed. I will be e-subscribing.

July 27, 2009
12:48 p.m.

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nygirl61 says...

Sad, and not very business-savvy. I read the paper online (non-subscription) everyday during my lunch break, as I am doing right now. I am in the same boat as some who have responded... the paper doesn't reach me early enough in the morning for me to read before work, and by evening, the news in the paper is old. You people do what you think you need to do... take your paper off the web, and the rest of us will do what we need to do... switch to your competitor for the news. You don't really think you'll get us to part with our money for a subscription do you? The Gazette is a good little paper, but not THAT good! I agree with another responder who mentioned something about your advertisers not liking the non-paying edition...huh?? Anywhere they advertise, in any form, will catch someone's eye. I do think you should re-think the obit section though... I read it frequently and it's the only way I know someone has passed that was related to someone I know. Well, good luck, Gazette... oh, and goodbye too because soon you will be out of business altogether!

July 27, 2009
3:14 p.m.

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Artrina says...

I'm a 7 day subscriber, so, the changes won't bother me. And as I have family all over the country I see more and more newspapers making the changes the Gazette is doing. The only problem I see is with the obits. One of the reasons people put their obits in the Gazette is so family and friends can read them. If you don't make them available free, I hope you at least charge less than the outrageous price you charge now for obits in the print newspaper.

July 27, 2009
3:27 p.m.

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timsloan says...

That's hilarious. Good luck with that.

July 27, 2009
7 p.m.

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aedstrom says...

The Gazette is making a good business decision to charge for web related pieces. All you "bloggers" need to get used to paying for access. At this point, the Gazette is actually ahead of the curve. Or are you all just a little bitter?

July 27, 2009
7:17 p.m.

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lor662 says...

In response to annarondac (the supermarket analogy) -
a. I would go to the supermarket that sold the better food (and I think that the Gazette is a better paper than the TU)
b. I would try to patronize the locally owned supermarket, not the Hearst owned supermarket.
(Sorry for killing that metaphor.)

July 28, 2009
2:57 a.m.

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mimi5386 says...

I am trying to see the Gazette's side to make yet another online change. I do not understand. From what I understand, free access to the Gazette should be advantageous to the paper (if it is managed correctly). While I subscribe the for the weekend, it appears I will be punished for not subscribing all week. It seems like a recipe for disaster for the Gazette, and very unfortunate for the Schenectady readers. Sadly, another Schenectady institution is close to the end.

July 28, 2009
6:25 a.m.

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residentX says...

i tend to agree with the nay sayers here. I understand the need for revenue but MOST people hit the Times Union website first and the Gazette for extraneous information, secondary slant. The content is not really worth it. Perhaps in creating a fee you can also raise your standards as to content. Provide more content in quantity and in quality.

I think as a journalist you should have approached those you overheard and let them know the site would be changing and would that be affecting their reading. Hopefully you would receive an honest answer. Would you want to lose the readers altogether?

That last paid site the gazette had was putrid, clunky and downright annoying. It made Schenectady look like it was still living in the 50s.

One thing you will learn quickly (if you dont already know), the residents in this area dont part with cash all that easily. Most products have to be above and beyond in value in order to draw open those creaky wallets. The Gazette site as Ive seen it over the past number of years wont be worth it in their eyes.

July 28, 2009
7:22 a.m.

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here2day says...

If I were an advertiser, I would want a large viewing market for my money. But your actions are instead reducing your readership market!
Who ever is advising this decision .. should be fired.
Instead, I suggest a 'right' hand Ad bar on your website. Expanding your total readership will increase advertisers. The goal should be to encourage both paper and internet readership as a tool to sell both commerical and classified ads. Some idiot has sold you a tried and failed idea. A real executive would step-in and correct this poorly thought out policy fast!

July 28, 2009
10:27 a.m.

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KenB says...

This decision will have the effect of completely removing yourselves from local blogs.

http://alloveralbany.com/archive/2009/07...

For example, I imagine AOA will remove you from news posts as soon as the change takes place. There is a somewhat simple technical approach that's friendly to bloggers and friendly to your customers who may want to send a link to a friend.

Every time a particular IP address hits a news story, log it. After a particular address has viewed 3 or so items on the website, redirect all articles to a friendly reminder that they're only allowed 3 articles per day unless they're a paying subscriber. Reset this list of IPs at midnight. The NY Times does it unless you register for a free account, but you can copy the behavior and request they get a paid account. Heck, even put a strip above the article saying something like: "You have two more free articles available before you'll need to login to a Daily Gazette account. Click here for more information."

Then, these people being sent to your website will at least be able to see what they're missing, and you can turn them into paying customers. It works out well for everyone. :)

Oh, and obits should definitely be freely available (and thus indexable by search engines). It's the right thing to do.

July 28, 2009
12:51 p.m.

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cloverfield says...

I, too, will be saying farewell to the Gazette when my current week-end subscription expires. When subscription prices went up I had to decide if it was worth it to me to pay over $200 a year for a paper i increasingly found less relevant to me. I, personally, am not so interested in reading the increasing number of articles about Schoharie, Cobleskill, Gloversville, etc. I am not making a judgement as to weather the Gazette should include those articles. Rather, I made a personal judgement that they were not important enough to me to pay $200 for.

I did not use the free web site to get the news. As others have noted that is freely available elsewhere. One can get the national and international stories carried by the AP online the evening before. And there are many outlets for local news. Rather, I used the site to see readers' comments about the stories. I always found them interesting and quite often they gave me a new perspective.

I am sorry to lose access to that but again the question I always ask myself before paying for anything, is the product or service worth the asking price? In this case I must sadly say no.

July 28, 2009
1:39 p.m.

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Tommy says...

What is the procedure for continuing long time print subscribers to get their password to the new site?

July 28, 2009
1:45 p.m.

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nygirl61 says...

KenB... excellent idea! Hope the people at the Gazette check that idea out! Or would they rather crash and burn?

Cloverfield... that's exactly why I read the Gazette too. Not for the "news" but for local people's reaction to the news. Gives me a good insight as to how people in this area feel about a given issue.

July 28, 2009
2 p.m.

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jpatrick says...

Some clarifications:

There will be an online form for print subscribers to fill out to access the new site. You'll need your subscriber identification number.

Our original online site, www.dailygazette.net, continues to function and has subscribers. It's the electronic replica of the print paper and will be one of the options of the new Web site.

All of our print subscription packages will include online access for a penny more a week. If you subscribe to our weekend package, for example, you'll have the option of getting full online access for a penny.

If our FAQ page can't answer your question, write to us at help@dailygazette.net

Judy Patrick

July 28, 2009
2:02 p.m.

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countyresident says...

I get my news from http://www.rotterdamny.info http://www.schny.info/cgi-bin/forum/Blah... people reporters, real peoples reactions, not slanted by overzealous reports doing a party line release.

July 28, 2009
2:24 p.m.

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achilles3_7_5 says...

Many newspapers have tried, and it seems most have failed, to find a way to charge for web access to their content. We'll see how this goes - I fear it will backfire. I will likely remain a web-only subscriber as I have been for several years now.

I agree with the comments suggesting that the Gazette should consider putting obituaries on the free part of the site.

July 28, 2009
3:13 p.m.

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propjr says...

RIP Daily Gazette online and in print! I imagine that most of your print subscribers do not access the online content and could careless about it.

For those of us who get their news online, I will be deleting the link to your website....number of hits will go down and then so will advertising revenues....death to the Gazette!

July 28, 2009
5:36 p.m.

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cspahn says...

What a shame. Looks like the Times Union will be getting my business now. Yet another reason why Schenectady is below average in my book.

July 28, 2009
9:26 p.m.

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residentX says...

whatever you do.. dont make it the same as it was before. That was a TERRIBLE site. In theory it seems "cool" to have the look and feel of a news paper on your computer... in practice... it sucked.

July 29, 2009
1:36 a.m.

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cs2247 says...

Wow. How disappointing. If the last ten years have taught us anything it is that print newspaper is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The future is online, not print.

The Gazette is obviously run by some backwards thinking nut who believes he can preserve print newspaper against the forces of history. This will only turn the Gazette into a paper of true obscurity and hasten it's eventual bankruptcy.

The base for the online version of the Gazette and the print newspaper readership are two nearly competely different groups of people. While advertising is present in both, the Gazette is cutting off it's nose to spite its face by significantly reducing that audience. People will just go to the Times-Union online for their local news. It will NOT make people subscribe to the print version of the Gazette.

The Gazette better get its' act together and throw out the old geezer who is about to destroy any future prospects the Gazette might hold in Schenectady's future. If they don't, then, well, goodbye Gazette. You're just a dinosaur that couldn't adapt and soon you'll be extinct.

July 29, 2009
2:26 a.m.

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localyokel says...

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again...and expecting a different result.

The Gazette's decision to put their content, such as it is, behind a subscriber wall will hurt rather than help the Gazette. The New York Times tried this and abandoned the policy about a year later. You can't pretend that the internet doesn't exist.

July 29, 2009
8:38 a.m.

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punster46 says...

as Freddy Mercury and Queen once noted -------
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

July 29, 2009
9 a.m.

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schodack says...

Before you opened up your website, I did not subscribe. After you close your website on Aug.3, I will not subscribe. In between, I visited your web site virtually every day and probably clicked on about a dozen pages a day on average, maybe more, or more than 4000 page views annually. A couple of ads on each page... so 8000+ ad impressions a year that you will no longer have.

You're asking online subscribers to pay 3/4 of what print customers pay, despite the fact that the incremental cost of an added online customer is very close to zero. No newsprint, no ink, no big presses, no distribution network..... I do pay for online news where it makes sense, so for instance, I am paying $119 annually for the Wall Street Journal and Barrons, equal to $2.29 a week. Do you really think that the Gazette is worth a nearly 30% premium to that?

I understand that it is galling to give it away for free (which isn't totally accurate since you do get some ad revenue), but this is a huge mistake. I'll miss having access to the paper, but not enough to make me a subscriber.

July 29, 2009
9:17 a.m.

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MrScooter65 says...

I think the Gazette management should reconsider what will be available for no charge. I can understand Gazette specific content, ie news stories, features, columnists. But public record items, such as obits & legal notices, should not be part of the paid subscription.

As for the comments that the Gazette online should be all free: get used to paying for stuff. The bits & bytes aren't free. The Gazette is a business - and I'm sure ad revenue is down - and they have to pay for the overhead and etc. somehow.

July 29, 2009
9:58 a.m.

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rmorriso11 says...

How quickly you forget. Remember the last go round with your subscription service. It was so messed up I bet it cost you print readers. Every time I would have to renew my subscription I had to create a new user name it became such a pain in the butt that I canceled both by online and print subscription. The print subscription did me no good as I spend 6 months of the year in Florida.
If you were to come out and say look this is costing us to much to publish the paper on line I could understand that, But to just not make it available to some people after having made it available to all for so long is just mean spirited.
It also brings to mind why would you keep the online infrastructure around? Could it be that you also know that one of your options is to stop printing the paper altogether. Sure would save you a lot of money and by the way who cares about the thousands of jobs it would cost?

July 29, 2009
10:11 a.m.

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Johnny says...

I can't knock The Gazette for going back on its decision. I never understood why newspapers started giving away internet access for free. It never made cents (pun intended) and was never a good decision.

That said, is it a runaway train? Can newspapers put the genie back in the bottle and start charging for online content? I'm not sure.

I still don't understand why The Gazette, a better local paper than the TU doesn't offer subscriptions to all of the Capital Region. I live in Delmar and given the choice, I would choose Gazette home delivery over TU delivery, but the DG does not offer subscription to where I live.

I certainly don't think $2.95 per week is an outrageous fee for the online exact replica of the print edition. The Sunday paper cost $2.00 on its own and for somebody like me, who can't get home delivery, it costs me 6.50 to get the Gazette everyday. Carl Strock, the best columnist in the area is certainly worth purchasing the paper on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

I still think, though, that reading the paper over morning coffee is a nice ritual, but does anybody under 30 do this anymore? I'm 41 and grew up with the evening paper, then the morning paper after evening papers went bye-bye. I still think having the paper means something.

The Gazette will be around. They own their building and they are not in debt, so they did not face debt like the Boston Globe (owned by NY Times) did. as long as they stay out of debt, they should be alright. I still think newspapers make money and the NY Times did well last quarter, but they cry poverty because the once 30 percent profit margins are now in the 10 percent range, still good, but the fat, bloated good old days.

I will root for the Gazette to survive because the region needs more than the Times Union. If the Gazette fails, then the TU will get thinner and cheaper, knowing that there is no competition. The TU has about 90,000 subscribers, while the Gazette counters with about 48,000. They are a competitor, unlike The Troy Record and The Saratgoian which have about 14,000 and 9,000 respectively. If the DG fails, then the TU can dictate what ot does. With 48,000 other subscribers, the TU has to try to stay ahead, without the DG, not so much.

Judy, if you are reading these, I am suggesting a 1 week free online preview. I would like to try the online version for one week, to see if I would be interested. Give us a temporary password that will expire after seven days. For $2.95 per week, it's a pretty good deal.

Thanks

July 29, 2009
10:15 a.m.

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Johnny says...

Will blogs still be online, free and open to read? In order to survive in this new age, you have to bloggers and moreover, the bloggers have to go back and read and RESPOND to what people say. Many of your writers do not do this. I really enjoy the work of sportswriter Phil Janack, but he never responds to any replies made on his blogs---even questions by readers.

And, Carl Strock, the best columnist in town, needs to blog more and react more. Your writers arer also sellers; if they only want to write and not do the chats, blogs that others do, the paper will sink.

Let's hope the blogs remain and remain free.

July 29, 2009
10:52 a.m.

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rmorriso11 says...

OK lets see if 10 percent of your print subscribers take advantage of the online version that would be 4,800 User Accounts and passwords to take care of. Should be doable with 5 or 6 administrators Plus a supervisor and a Manager. Sure makes sense to me. $100,000.00 for the Manager $60,000.00 for the Supervisor and $ 30,000.00 for the Admins. $340,000.00 a year plus benefits lets get right on this.

July 29, 2009
11:29 a.m.

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jpatrick says...

Blogs, both from our reporters and community members such as Judy Atchinson, will still be out there for everyone to read.
While readers will have to be subscribers to post comments on blogs, they can always directly email the writer. That's already fairly common with some of our readers.

Judy Patrick

July 29, 2009
11:48 a.m.

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anichols says...

First Off... Existing Gazette subscribers can have online service for the same amount they had always paid!

2nd... The free loaders better get used to pulling out their wallet. Nothing is free.

3rd... For those who would subscribe to the Times Union... Go ahead, support the corporate based company that doesn't give a damned about you. Much like they care about their own employees.

4th... Has anyone given thought to privacy & free speech. If you want to comment on something, The Gazette will know who you are. Good-Bye anonymity. Good-Bye free speech.

In response to nygirl61... OK, how do you make it in the real world if you don't charge for your services?

In response to nypolarbear123... Don't you have anything better to do than worry about the dead?

In response to Adirondackal... Do you really believe the supply & demand models the USA has painted. Seriously, if those models were true, prices would be falling. Regretfully, greed rules as is evident with all the people who are upset because they will have to pay for the services they use.

In response to Retired... You are right, like many newspapers today, The Gazette is a shell of it's former self.

In response to annarondac... what does supermarkets have to do with this?

In response to CPMark... I still pay to read the E-Edition and I'm sure I'm not alone. The Gazette didn't fail by charging for online service in the past & now they are just making it better.

In response to timsloan... Rather than posting your cynicism, try posting your thoughts... if you have any.

In response to aedstrom & lor662... you are both right!!!

In response to propjr... SAME TO YOU!

In response to localyokel... insanity is trying the same thing that failed before IF YOU DO IT THE SAME WAY.

In response to cs2247... you made me laugh.

In response to schodack... take a math class.

In response to Johnny... I agree.

To the others... sorry, I'm out of time.

Good luck Gazette!

July 29, 2009
1:16 p.m.

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psmalera says...

Judy, just a few days ago I wrote a post at true/slant basically wondering whether paying for today's news but keeping the archives free was a good model for newspapers trying to monetize their content. I recognize you're not doing that exactly but I'll still be interested in hearing how this experiment works out. You can read my post here:

http://trueslant.com/paulsmalera/2009/07...

July 29, 2009
2:03 p.m.

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whatshisname says...

It costs money to post an obituary. Now the Gazette will go back to double dipping. You pay for the obit and then everybody else has to pay to see the already paid for obit.

July 29, 2009
4:56 p.m.

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kunya56 says...

i get all the LATEST news from the times union regarding Schenectady anyway, the gazette does not cater to Schenectady folks like they should. I am going to pay for this? I think not.

July 29, 2009
6:28 p.m.

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JenO says...

I'm sad to hear this. I will not be subscribing to the on-line edition, or the print version. I used to get the print version but by the time it got here I already could get all the relevant news from the local tv stations. While I understand your business view the price is just not worth it. The tv is free, the radio is free, other on line new sources are free. I will miss the obits, as a hospital worker it is one of the few ways I get to see the outcomes of old patients.

July 29, 2009
6:52 p.m.

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medic_sean426 says...

I understand the competition aspect, and I also understand that readership amongst newspapers is dwindling immensely. However, I see this as a strongarm tactic: "buy our subscription, or you don't get to read us at all." The caliber of many newspapers and other news media has already declined so much, to the point where "news" no longer consists of unbiased reports of the truth, but rather is slanted and exaggerated and told with half-truths and outright lies, so as to get the "best" (i.e. most exciting) story. Thus far, The Gazette has been mostly immune to this fad. But now, it seems, only the elite are to be privileged to read your paper. This, I find to be ironic: the newspaper has the right to print whatever it wants without fear of censorship, but only a select few have the right to read it. Think about it. Anyone who does not live in Schenectady or the immediate area no longer may view the Gazette online (including people formerly of the area who would like to stay up to date). People who buy the paper - for a higher price, mind you - on their way to work because the subscription won't get to them before they leave for work, can no longer access the Gazette online. I enjoy reading and responding to the letters to the editor, but now I feel as though I am being extorted. Knowledge is power, but evidently it is not free. If you need more readers, you should try to add things that are only in the print version, not limit what can be viewed online. The papers are not the only ones suffering in these hard economic times, and shame on you for attempting to extort what little most of us do make for your own pockets. I'm guessing no one at the editorial staff ever thought to take a pay cut. Why should we? As much as I'd like to keep being a part of the letters to the editor (and I've contributed considerably, enough that I SHOULD be getting paid for it!), it's not worth it if I have to submit to extortionist tactics.

July 29, 2009
10:46 p.m.

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Johnny says...

I thik all he comments have some validity, but you can't devalue your product by giving it away for free. When you hear people say, I dropped my subscription because I read it online for free, that's not the proper business model.

Judy Patrick did not answer the following questions.

1) Will there be a free trial membership for the e-edition?

2) More of a comment, but please allow non-subscribers to make comments on blogs. If you only allow e-edition subscribers to make comments on blogs, that would not be good. The point of the blog is to get people interested/fired up so they will want to buy the paper, or subscribe to it.

I like the Gazette and still feel it is a nice, crisp read. And, giving your paper away for free never made sense/cents.

I do hope that dailygazette.com will offer SOMETHING for nonsubscribers.

July 30, 2009
6:57 a.m.

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MovedSouth says...

Wow, thats about as dumb a business decision as I have ever heard. Kinda reminds me of the way Schenectady tried to play hard ball with GE back in the 60's and 70's over taxes. Look at what happened with that. Hopefully I will be reading a free obit in the Times Union that states "RIP Daily Gazette"

July 30, 2009
7:15 a.m.

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jpatrick says...

Our new Web site will have lots to offer for non-subscribers: blogs, videos, photo galleries, polls, stock listings, entertainment listings, TV schedules, full access to Associated Press stories and the local headlines.

Non-subscribers will be able to sample the new Web site in that way. But we aren't offering free trial subscriptions.

In retrospect, I think we've essentially been offering free trial subscriptions since December 2007 when we launched the site. People have been able to see our work and watch as our Web site has developed.

Our new Web site will be different, but many of those added elements will be available to non-subscribers.

Judy Patrick

July 30, 2009
8:31 a.m.

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JuanJoaquinAMS says...

Bye free online edition of the Gazette. I'll miss you, just like I miss the free online edition of the Recorder. I'm a tightwad- I like free; now I'm sad.

July 30, 2009
9 a.m.

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Johnny says...

Moved South,

It's not a dumb decision; the dumb decision was newspapers giving away the product for free in the first place. Obviously, you like the Gazette, so why not pony up $2.95 per week to get it.

Once again, can non-subscribers get a complete 3 or 7 day trial membership. Judy Patrick continues to be evasive about this question. She says there will be information for non-subscribers, but it won't be the same as it is for subscribers.

Can we sample it for 3 days to see if we are interested? Please respond to the question rather than avoid it.

July 30, 2009
9:43 a.m.

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jpatrick says...

As I said in my 7:15 a.m. post, we aren't offering free trial subscriptions.

Judy Patrick

July 30, 2009
5:35 p.m.

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padc325 says...

I agree with the majority of the above comments expressing regret at the Gazette's decision. I live in Las Vegas and read many papers a day online. The gazette was always on this list. Local news, local sports and the obituaries were always 1-2-3. Well, it looks like the Times Union and its online advertisers will now be the choice of many.

GREAT response to all those above comments on this ridiculous decision.

July 30, 2009
8:56 p.m.

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medic_sean426 says...

It does make business sense not to offer the entire contents of the Gazette online for free. However, the way you are going about it is all wrong. Rather than giving people options, you are strongarming them into making one of two decisions - pay up or lose out. One poster here stated "why don't you pony up the $2.95 a week for the paper?" First of all, it is not $2.95 a week, it is $4 a week. Which adds up, especially to those of us who barely eek out a living. $4 a week, 52 weeks a year, that's $208/year. Like myself, many people leave for work before their paperboy (or girl) even gets out of bed. Since most of us do not relish the idea of having to wait for our newspaper until the evening, we opt instead to buy a paper at the store. Then, if we wish to peruse the online edition, or like myself, to reply to letters to the editor or stories, we do so at night, via the Internet. Now, I will have to choose - either only have the print edition from the store, assuming its not sold out, or pay both the price for that paper and for a duplicate paper so I can continue to peruse the online edition. Also, as previously stated, people outside the Capital Region will no longer have access to the Gazette. I know many people who grew up in Scotia, Glenville, Niskayuna and Schenectady, and have since moved, but enjoyed keeping up with the goings-on in our area through the Gazette online. These people don't even have the OPTION of subscribing so they can continue to use the online paper. This clearly was not thought through well. Why not offer an online subscription for a fee for these people? Why not simply add advertisements to the headers, as most other website managers do? All the free sites out there get by just fine simply through selling space to advertisers. This decision has made a lot of Gazette readers unhappy, and many are going to find their news elsewhere.The Post Star (in Glens Falls), is a much thicker paper, with smaller ads (though just as eye-catching), is much less biased, and has few, if any, political ambitions. AND it's cheaper. So much for the line of competition BS, Judy. The Gazette has been steadily going downhill for the past decade - maybe I won't miss it so much after all.

July 31, 2009
7:43 a.m.

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nygirl61 says...

To: anichols: You responded to my comment by saying: In response to nygirl61... OK, how do you make it in the real world if you don't charge for your services?

My answer to that is... the Gazette does charge for services... they charge their advertisers. Their subscription fee is relatively small in comparison. Also, news on the radio and TV are free... they get their big money from their sponsors (advertisers). I think if we roam around the web a little bit we'll all be able to find free websites that offer news articles like the Gazette has been doing... we just got comfortable with the Gazette, then they pulled the rug out from under us. There are other sites that we can get comfortable with. I agree with one comment that the obits are public record and should be available online... perhaps the TU will try to pick up the gap left by the out-going Gazette, and expand their coverage of obits to a broader reading audience.

July 31, 2009
10:36 a.m.

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insidescsd says...

Better idea: articles and blogged responses are only available to subscribers for the first few days, and then it opens up free like it is now.

Otherwise:

RIP Gazette. One foot further. Not only do you ignore my donated evidence about children in harm's way in the SCSD, but now you're plunging local articles into obscurity.

July 31, 2009
12:23 p.m.

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jpatrick says...

You don't need to be a subscriber to our print edition to be a subscriber to our online edition. We're offering an online-only subscription for $2.95 a week.

Judy Patrick

July 31, 2009
8:27 p.m.

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medic_sean426 says...

An online-only subscription makes sense. I hadn't seen anything about that in the initial article, though admittedly I may have overlooked it. I do have a question though: will non-subscribers still be able to submit letters to the editor via email or some other way online? It seems that letters mailed in get ignored more than the ones sent online...though maybe that's not true, either.

July 31, 2009
10:21 p.m.

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Johnny says...

The Post Star, like all papers, does have a political slant. How can you say they don't? For starters, they are very much anti-teacher. They think a teacher making $45,000 is rolling in the dough, when we know that $45,000 per year is not a "lot of money,"

Please, be serious when you post. I still think the Gazette will survive with their new plan.

And, for the last time, they SHOULD OFFER A FREE TRIAL SUBSCRIPTION. BUT, MY GUESS IS THAT THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH IT PEOPLE ON STAFF TO DO IT.

August 1, 2009
5:39 a.m.

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mcintyre5943 says...

So those of us who grew up in the Capital Region and moved away to serve our country are left to cough up our hard-earned money to access news from back home? Thanks Daily Gazette for either not thinking about us or obviously not caring one iota about locals who are now far away. I will certainly remember this when I come back to the area and choose a newspaper.

August 1, 2009
6:20 a.m.

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nygirl61 says...

Yes, you can pay $2.95 a week for the electronic version of the Gazette, but remember... you won't get any fliers or coupons. And... $2.95 a week translates to $153.40 a year... a princely sum in these economically trying times. I have better ways to spend that money than reading old news that the Gazette offers.

August 1, 2009
6:59 a.m.

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jpatrick says...

We welcome letters to the editor in any form from both subscribers and non-subscribers. You can reach us at opinion@dailygazette.net, by fax at 518-395-3089 or by mail at 2345 Maxon Road Extension, Schenectady, NY, 12301.

Our reporters, editors and columnists also like hearing directly from their readers. Reporters' email addresses are at the end of their stories. Mine is jpatrick@dailygazette.net. Our general news email is news@dailygazette.net.

If you're unable to comment on a blog because you're not a subscriber, email the blogger.

Judy Patrick

August 1, 2009
8:17 a.m.

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wolfden says...

OH MY GOODNESS, THIS COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED TO A BETTER PAPER!!!!! I thought NY Post was bad, but this took the cake. Goodbye, Goodluck. Timesunion is WAYYYYY better than this garbage. There story telling is almost over. A company which prints lies then have to go and try to find the facts is a joke, and is SOOOO BACKWARDS!!!!! They publish stories to "SENSATIONALIZE" a little city call Schenectady, then the community is all up in arms about nothing. You have to be able to back up the story once you print it. There services are half opinions and half truths. If you were consistant and had more up dates the community would have no problems backing you. Hey, if you lie then say you lie when telling a daily gazette story. I can have more respect then. TIMESUNION.COM......SEE YOU THERE. And besides, I have to go there on a daily bases because Schenectady daily gazette do not be printing news worthy stories on time. Timesunion, on point. Always have breaking stories, its a beautiful thing.

daily gazette could not give me a free paper, this website was just enough and it should have been free. Paying for anything like this could make someone over there RICH, (NOT!)

August 1, 2009
11:56 a.m.

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WallaceH says...

Sorry Judy...

... but your strategy is doomed to fail. You’re cutting off your nose to spite your face.

YES – newspapers should charge for content. In theory.

The only way online news subscriptions can work and work well is if all newspapers in the U.S. charge for content.

The national newspaper trade association needs to develop this model. All newspapers from 15,000 circulation on up need to participate. A subscriber pays $150 a year (pick your figure) for online access to all papers. Newspapers share that revenue by a distribution model developed by the trade association.

It may not be a lot of revenue, but what’s the alternative? Subscribers cannot afford to pay $12 a month EACH to the Gazette, the Times Union, the NY Times, the Milwaukee Sentinel, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, etc.

Here’s the thing. The Gazette is effectively saying -- We believe that every newspaper in the U.S. should charge for content.

Now – if that happened, what would be the result?

Right – choking information flow. Depriving people of news. Because no one can afford to subscribe to a dozen or three dozen or 100 newspapers at $12 a month.

Is news an entitlement? Yes and no. The world has evolved, for good or ill, in such a way that news can be arguably viewed as an entitlement.

It shouldn’t be, though. A product should not be free. A solution IMHO is a nationwide access model.

The Gazette should be faulted for endorsing a business model that, if adopted nationwide, would be ultimately unsustainable and injurious, if not fatal, to public discourse.

The Gazette’s problem is that it is trying to stake out a leadership position by its own little self in this realm.

The Gazette is not a “leader” by any stretch of the imagination. CONTINUED…

August 1, 2009
11:58 a.m.

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WallaceH says...

CONTINUED…

Let’s face it, the Gazette is and always has been inferior to the Times Union. Particularly in the area of scoops, enterprise reporting, and investigative journalism.

That’s not to say the Gazette is not a decent paper. It is. But it’s not a leader. And it’s in no position to stake a claim in the wilderness as one of the few newspapers in the country to charge for online content.

The result of the Gazette’s new online model will be alienation of readers and isolation in a world that continues to grow ever more connected. It will no doubt generate a short-term revenue spike, but it will jeopardize your long-term survival.

Obviously, it also diminishes public discourse and dissemination of information, to the (incremental but notable) detriment of society of a whole. You could almost call it an abdication of responsibility, were it not for the grim financial circumstances that triggered this move.

I know you Gazetteers have wracked your Gazette brains trying to devise new revenue streams. You’ve cut costs by laying off veteran journalists who had served the paper for well over a decade, replacing them with lower-salaried youngsters and of course reducing overall staff size.

I wish someone had the answer. I’m starting to think that, besides national pay-per-access, government subsidy of the newspaper industry might be worth a serious look. The BBC in the U.K. is (sort of) subsidized by the U.K. government in the form of public licensing (the public pays the government to receive BBC broadcasting), and it works.

Anyhow Gazette, your decision is understandable but ultimately wrongheaded and shortsighted and ill-reasoned, IMHO. And no, I will not be paying for an online subscription. Two final things:

1) Not making obits free online is just cheap and mean-spirited. For Pete’s sake, do your part to honor the lives of those who have passed.

2) I sure hope Jeff Wilkin’s blog remains free. We love his reports on chocolate milk, Coors Light, corned beef, and the Outer Limits.

August 1, 2009
8:08 p.m.

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adk46r says...

I live in the northern Adirondacks;but I read the gazette everyday online to keep up with the news,sports and obituaries. I have many friends in the capitol region. The Gazette online is the only way for me to keep track of what is going on in Schenectady and to keep track of friends who pass away. If you can't deliver your paper to local customers in a timely manner how do you think you could deliver it 150 miles north of Schenectady. It is not that I do not want to subscribe it is just not logical to do so. I will miss the online version; but your not the only online paper in the capitol region.

August 2, 2009
9:26 a.m.

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Schopd64 says...

The free on-line edition was an accurate reflection of the value of the Schenectady Gazette to its readers. Goodbye, Gazette

August 2, 2009
10:11 a.m.

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WallaceH says...

We get a kick out of the euphemistic headlines the Gazette used on this story.

"Changes coming to www.dailygazette.com"

"We're changing our Web site"

Bah! What watered-down, subjective, rose-colored, self-serving blech!

Here are a couple of headlines the Gazette SHOULD have used:

"Gazette to charge readers for online content"

"Gazette to end free access to Web site"

Talk about a double standard, folks!

If GE laid off 500 people, would the headlines read?:

"Changes coming to GE workforce"

"GE to revise personnel structure"

Or a Schenectady property tax increase. Which is the better headline?

"2009 Sch'dy budget brings changes for taxpayers"

"Taxpayers face 5% increase in 2009 Sch'dy budget"

Judy, maybe you'd like to answer that question...?

Judy -- apply the same standards to news headlines concerning the Gazette that you would to any other business!

It may be a small point, but this headline double standard is utterly indefensible and IMHO only further erodes the Gazette's credibility.

August 2, 2009
11:20 a.m.

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choerilus says...

Police corruption, crime, police corruption, murder, police corruption, elected official corruption, police corruption, assault, police corruption.

There - I just gave you the Schenectady news. Nobody needs the online edition of something that's the same damn story every single day.

I wonder how the Gazette feels when you can still go to the library & some book stores and read their edition for free? Maybe they can restrict that, too. Yeah, we're losing money, so let's restrict the amount of people reading it. Absolutely brilliant. No wonder the city is full of dumb.

August 2, 2009
11:48 a.m.

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cloverfield says...

WallaceH

Your observation is right on the mark.

August 2, 2009
12:34 p.m.

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WallaceH says...

Since access to this article and set of posts will probably end soon for non-subscribers, you can continue the discussion here:

http://www.topix.net/forum/schenectady/T...

Topix.net -- with the end of the online Gazette, your new source for free Schenectady news and gossip!

Thanks, Gazette!

August 2, 2009
3:27 p.m.

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nygirl61 says...

Thanks WallaceH... I'll check out the website during my lunch hour when I used to read the Gazette! Get the picture Gazette?? We'll get our local news with or without you! And then when you realize your mistake and want us back, we'll simply say, oh, sorry, we've moved on.

August 2, 2009
7:24 p.m.

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Johnny says...

Did you see today's Sunday Daily Gazette? My goodness, it was thin. Not a very good Sunday paper at all.

August 2, 2009
11:37 p.m.

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myshortpencil says...

http://www.newsfuturist.com/2009/07/news...

180 Years of Not Charging for Newspapers at the link, above.

August 6, 2009
10:26 a.m.

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adkalmanack says...

My guess is that the Gazette’s return to the pay model will mean fewer subscribers, fewer links to their web page, and less involvement of the local community in their news.

The idea that free news is something we shouldn’t expect is laughable.

Radio news is free. Television news is free (or at least was). Books, magazines, and newspapers are all free at the library. They all carry news – local, national, and international. The internet is free.

Newspapers get their revenue from advertising – when they produce quality content that people want to read they grow their audience and garner more advertising dollars.

In this day and age trying to make money from subscribers for general news delivery will no longer work.

For example – soon enough, every town in America will have at least two bloggers reporting on what happens in their town halls (and elsewhere in town) from differing perspectives. When that trend is finally entrenched, we’ll look back and laugh at how naive people were to think that it was “buy a newspaper, or don’t get news. ” That’s no way to grow a customer base – just ask Google.

I’m sorry to see you go Gazette, but with decisions like this, go you will.

Adirondack Almanack - which sends you thousands of readers each month, will no longer be linking to your pages. In fact, already last night, I saw a story on your RSS feed and then searched and found it at the TU. I linked to them.

 

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