Opinion

Changing with the times | IN OUR OPINION

  - Bainbridge Island Review photo
— image credit: Bainbridge Island Review photo

The Bainbridge Island Review has a long and proud history of providing our readers with complete and comprehensive coverage of life on Bainbridge Island. Next year, we’ll celebrate the 90th birthday of our newspaper.

Newspapers today, however, are much more than print on paper. And while many readers continue to faithfully pull our pages from their newspaper tube each week, our online readership at bainbridg

ereview.com has been growing rapidly in recent years as more and more islanders, and readers from afar, rely on the internet to access our news.

Our most avid online readers will notice something new starting today. We are now asking our readers who enjoy and depend on bainbridgereview.com to pay for the content we produce, just as our print customers have done since 1935.

After reading five articles online, readers will receive an invitation to buy an introductory digital subscription to bainbridgereview.com. When readers click on their fifth link to a story, a message will pop up to let readers know they’ve used up their allotment of free articles for the month.

The price is modest, just 75 cents a week for full access to the website and all that it offers.

For readers who already subscribe to the print edition of the Review, their digital subscription is absolutely free.

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 closer to 30 percent of newspaper sites require digital subscriptions.

Among U.S. paid dailies, paywalls and meters are now the norm. A survey by the Reynolds Journalism Institute found that

70 percent of newspapers are using some form of meter or paywall, a large increase from the 41 percent that the institute found in the same survey in 2011.

This shift in the newspaper industry toward charging for web content is not surprising. Gathering, verifying and writing news and taking photos takes time and money. From the moment the Review’s website was launched, our print customers have covered much of the cost of reporting the news.

The importance of newspapers have not changed. Newspapers connect people with their communities and the events that shape their lives. We inform, educate and entertain, and as readership habits continue to change, newspapers, too, must adapt.

Digital subscriptions are the next step in the evolution of newspapers, and will allow your community newspaper to provide the kind of coverage that Bainbridge has come to rely on for so many years.

 

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