Chronicle is launching subscriptions for digital access

Free for a limited time.



Digital access to The Augusta Chronicle's news stories - also available in a nifty iPad format in the coming weeks - is moving from being completely free to a subscription-based model.



We'll start Monday morning by limiting the number of locally produced articles per month that you can view freely. Once you've opened about 100 premium stories against our meter - primarily those published in the print edition and packaged with additional content overnight - we'll ask you to subscribe. (The 100 free articles per month are for a limited time.)



The homepage, breaking news, photo galleries, obits, most blogs and most section fronts won't count against the premium meter at this point. "Spotted" photo coverage and video remain completely free. We have exclusive, additional content "produced for subscribers" in the iPad and online planned for 2011.



Current print subscribers will pay $2.95 per month to add this full access pass. Digital-only subscriptions will be $6.95 per month.



Why? Frankly, we've learned that we can't grow our business in the digital age on the returns digital advertisements provide versus print advertising.

The business model is changing.



Also, the journalism we do is more expensive than some other forms. We go beyond the button-pushing journalism some bloggers and copycat online sites offer. It requires staff and money to be your watchdog on government and to report the news you've come to expect from your newspaper. We put forth a credible, methodical and formidable news team for years.



That said, light and free reading of our content isn't going away. Passers-by will not encounter restrictions checking a few stories and e-mailing a few links. General readership through Facebook links and clippings on refrigerators is unaffected. And there will still be copies of the paper lying around the library and at businesses.



Some access will be limited, that's all.



For the equivalent of buying us a gourmet cup of coffee each month, or a couple of cups if you aren't a current subscriber, you support a model of shared civic responsibility and credible commerce.



The value goes beyond access. You support the local journalism that includes:



- Bio-testing local waterways, revealing problems and getting them attention.

- Battling for public records.

- Celebrating local heroes and honoring fallen soldiers.

- Checking the safety of your roadways and bridges.

- Reviewing policies and hiring practices at city hall.

- Raising awareness and donations for breast cancer.

- Championing better government.

- Leading coverage of ASU's national championship.

- Convening a roundtable of local health care CEOs to learn the impact of reforms.

- Rallying charitable giving at Christmastime.



Who else does this as often as your local newspaper?



Our credibility and value as a news organization are supported by different types of revenue, helping us keep a large reporting staff and maintain independence against agenda-driven special interests.



We are able to do that through your subscriptions - on paper or on a digital platform. And, you'll find, most of it is still free for a limited time.



Reach Alan English at (706) 823-3487 or alan.english@augustachronicle.com.




Estimated time of implementation: Monday at 9:30 a.m.

Note of coverage about this change:• PaidContent.org covers The Augusta Chronicle paid meter move
• Monday's Q&A / interaction blog with readers at implementation
• Steve Yelvington on Augusta's launch (not a paywall)
• Lubbock’s announcement

Additional notes:



Press+, a service of Journalism Online, LLC, is our partner in building this subscription-based model online. Journalism Online was founded by Steven Brill, founder of The American Lawyer Magazine and Court TV; L. Gordon Crovitz, a former Wall Street Journal publisher; and Leo Hindery, Jr., who has led the San Francisco Chronicle, AT&T Cable and YES Network. How it works: http://www.mypressplus.com/readers



The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and The Augusta Chronicle are the first newspapers owned by Morris Publishing Group LLC to launch this subscription-based online model. Morris Publishing is a privately held media company based in Augusta, Ga., and currently owns and operates 13 daily newspapers as well as nondaily newspapers, city magazines and free community publications in the Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Alaska.



Other newspapers owned by the group include: The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville); Savannah (Ga.) Morning News; Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald, Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News; Bluffton (S.C.) Today; Brainerd (Minn.) Dispatch; Juneau (Alaska) Empire; Log Cabin Democrat, Conway, Ark.; Peninsula Clarion, Kenai, Alaska; The St. Augustine (Fla.) Record; and The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal.

    • Syndicate content
Comments (90) Add comment
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Austin Rhodes
3161
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/03/10 - 12:18 pm
0
0
Wow...bold move...and I

Wow...bold move...and I applaud you guys 100% ! I may even buy a couple of subscriptions to make up for all the free content I have enjoyed over the years!

Austin Rhodes
3161
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/03/10 - 12:23 pm
0
0
Oh...a request...I hope you

Oh...a request...I hope you guys will consider throwing in archive access (beyond 1996) as part of the package...that info is just "sitting there", it has already been entered into the database...

dreamcatcher_ga
15
Points
dreamcatcher_ga 12/03/10 - 12:31 pm
0
0
If you are really going to be

If you are really going to be reporting the truth and "championing better government" it will be worth the price.

jones255
0
Points
jones255 12/03/10 - 01:04 pm
0
0
I'm a print subscriber, but I

I'm a print subscriber, but I do most of my reading online. I'll pass up the Starbucks, and give it to y'all. I agree with Austin, how about the Archives for us digital junkies??

seenitB4
116918
Points
seenitB4 12/03/10 - 01:13 pm
0
0
Just a matter of time....knew

Just a matter of time....knew it was coming..guess I will cough up the bucks foryee Sean & Alan......don't want to see ya guys lose your jobs...but hey......go a little easy on the posters why doncha.....we can't always be PC ...24/7.....:O)

Fiat_Lux
18569
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/03/10 - 01:30 pm
0
0
I hope it helps y'all stay in

I hope it helps y'all stay in business. People generally don't realize what a disaster it would be for us to lose our local daily paper. It may not be the exact watchdog that every single one of us wants, but it's a heck of a lot better than none at all.

galaxygrl
1444
Points
galaxygrl 12/03/10 - 01:38 pm
0
0
I will gladly pay for reading

I will gladly pay for reading the online paper as that is how I get most of my news. However, I would expect to have less ads popping up! They are very annoying and if I am paying i don't want the page I am reading to redirect me to a funeral home ad, car ad or lower the page I am reading to sell me a car or anything else.

gpb
3
Points
gpb 12/03/10 - 01:50 pm
0
0
Bully for you, Chronicle. I

Bully for you, Chronicle. I don't even live anywhere close to Augusta any more, so not even your advertisers got a benefit from my reading. You're WAY more conservative than I am, but that's why I read you every day: it's not easy finding good, conservative commentary for an alternate point of view. I'll be subscribing. Ditto Austin: I do hope you'll at least consider throwing in access to the archives. That would be awesome.

diamondpaste
0
Points
diamondpaste 12/03/10 - 02:09 pm
0
0
How noble of ARhodes to

How noble of ARhodes to finally pay.He has built his commentary career on the AC . I always thought it was tacky, cheap and character revealing for him to admit he did not even subscribe and then often READ the paper on his show.Where's the loyalty to the hometown paper? He should thank the AC everyday for content!!

Chief_Broom
21
Points
Chief_Broom 12/03/10 - 02:14 pm
0
0
Will the subscription be tied

Will the subscription be tied to our user account so we'll be able to log in from any computer anywhere for full access?

RoadkiII
6839
Points
RoadkiII 12/03/10 - 02:20 pm
0
0
Does this mean no more

Does this mean no more annoying Milton Ruben adds? If yes it will be worth the money, if not........ later.

Riverman1
111538
Points
Riverman1 12/03/10 - 02:39 pm
0
0
Two days ago Yahoo had a

Two days ago Yahoo had a story on the worst jobs in America because they are going away fast and paying less. Newspaper writer was one of the worst careers. It was rated right above stevedores who are being eliminated and paid less because of containerization. So we all know it's coming to this for big newspapers.

I wonder if the Spirit, TV and radio stations will try to pick up some of the readers who don't want to pay? They could enlarge their online presence and make a real run at the Chronicle readers. Opportunity?

Austin Rhodes
3161
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/03/10 - 02:54 pm
0
0
Geez Diamondpaste...what

Geez Diamondpaste...what kinda cave you been living in since 1996, when the AC went online?

I have discussed the media dynamics of this town, how the AC as the city's daily newspaper is OF COURSE the central media outlet of the area, and how so many other media people rip them off without credit every day. I have never been one of those people, I always give credit (and occasionally BLAME) where it is due, and the fact that current and former AC staffers are among some of my best friends and working colleagues is evidence of that...

What's next, you gonna jump Limbaugh for basing his commentary on USA Today...because God knows...they have written about the budget woes every day that he has talked about them...

18 years on the radio doing nothing but ripping off the Chronicle? You are are delusional.

Sean Moores
425
Points
Sean Moores 12/03/10 - 03:28 pm
0
0
Chief_Broom, the subscription

Chief_Broom, the subscription won't be tied to your online account, but you will be able to log in from any computer. At some point in the future we will probably merge the accounts, but that is not possible right now.

markmjtx
0
Points
markmjtx 12/03/10 - 03:59 pm
0
0
I hope "premium" ensures a

I hope "premium" ensures a state of mind as it relates to editing, grammatical errors and proofreading. The Chronicle has slipped in this area for the past few years in regard to local stories. This paper will also have to raise their game and ensure that premium is not defined in monetary terms only.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 12/03/10 - 05:03 pm
0
0
Congrats to the Chronicle.

Congrats to the Chronicle. Definitely worth the price.

I bet competitors are already calling up to subscribe.

Boo-Hoo
171
Points
Boo-Hoo 12/03/10 - 05:09 pm
0
0
Sean Moores ,Alan English

Sean Moores ,Alan English

Some my think me crazy, but something I miss in the online version is all of the paid adds in the paper version. It is a great way to keep up with what sales are going on in the area and where to buy things. Why don’t you have a tab, not a pop-up, but a separate section that would let us scroll through all the adds in the paper? It would also help you sell adds in the paper. All the adds are already on your system.

diamondpaste
0
Points
diamondpaste 12/03/10 - 05:26 pm
0
0
AR I expected your

AR I expected your attack. You skillfully addressed many things while avoiding the fact of being a nonsubscriber and I am not even one of your haters!

Quack Quack Quack
8626
Points
Quack Quack Quack 12/03/10 - 05:35 pm
0
0
Having been an account

Having been an account executive for the "Orlando Sentinel" for decades, I have a love for newspapers. I do still love to actually hold one, but have really enjoyed the convenience of digital print. Count me in, and keep moving forward.

airbud7
1
Points
airbud7 12/03/10 - 05:55 pm
0
0
Definitely worth the

Definitely worth the price.
Can other members of my family be logged on at the same time?

Just My Opinion
7027
Points
Just My Opinion 12/03/10 - 05:55 pm
0
0
I will continue to be a

I will continue to be a print-subscriber because I also like to flip through the pages and see what's there...to me, it's much easier than trying to find something online. I wouldn't be surprised to see me paying for the online edition either. However, the one thing that concerns me about doing it is the absolute slowness of the downloading of stories! Am I the only one to suffer from this? It is so noticeably slow that it may take up to 45 seconds to download just the front page! I talked to someone the other day who has the same problem, and we each have different internet providers. Anyone else have this problem?

Sean Moores
425
Points
Sean Moores 12/03/10 - 06:23 pm
0
0
airbud, the system will allow

airbud, the system will allow that for now. We may revisit it in the future as we see how this goes.

rcpasc48
88
Points
rcpasc48 12/03/10 - 06:41 pm
0
0
Whoa! I'm a print subscriber

Whoa! I'm a print subscriber and you want to tag on an additional $2.95 a month???? That is not the way to treat loyal customers.
I've been a subscriber since 1970. Sometimes I don't get my paper, sometimes it gets here too late to take to work to read during break.
I've had to buy them out of the rack.
It has been a lot better lately but still!!!!!!
Reading on line was a welcome alternative.

How about you do a little rethinking about being more accommodating for those that are subscribers.

I am all for charging those that are not subscribers.

Fiat_Lux
18569
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/03/10 - 06:50 pm
0
0
It's going to be interesting

It's going to be interesting to see how you deal with customers who pay for the privilege of making robust comments that you guys find a little too robust.

I agree about not charging regular subscribers, unless it's simply for the privilege of making comments, which would, IMO, be a crock.

Alan English
6
Points
Alan English 12/03/10 - 06:57 pm
0
0
Dear rcpasc48, We are working

Dear rcpasc48,

We are working to keep your current print subscription prices unaffected as we work to do more coverage and offer expanded online content, multimedia and additional references (and better packaging). We've found that the production of content for online takes additional time and money not fully counterbalanced by the advertising revenue. If you are using online vigorously, there is a discount of just $2.95/mo for unfettered access. This is a different edition than your print edition.

There are many areas of the site that will not tick the meter. Breaking news remains free.

We will keep your comments in mind as we consider ways to reward loyal readers beyond the discount.

Riverman1
111538
Points
Riverman1 12/03/10 - 07:04 pm
0
0
I wonder how many other

I wonder how many other papers in similar cities around the south have gone to this? Charleston, Columbia, Savannah, Columbus, Greenville, Spartanburg, Macon?

Alan English
6
Points
Alan English 12/03/10 - 07:06 pm
0
0
Fiat, Right now, the

Fiat,
Right now, the registration for the site features (e.g. comments) and registering for subscriptions will be separate. We haven't merged the technology for registrations (it is what it is). We are asking for subscriptions to view premium pages beyond the introductory free buffer of 100 -- so everyone can feel this out. There may always be a free buffer enabling comments for all at a minimum. For now, I expect breaking news to be a landing spot for comments from casual non-sub readers.
We'll phase this in and learn along the way - with feedback from y'all.

Sargebaby
4693
Points
Sargebaby 12/03/10 - 07:06 pm
0
0
In a time where newspapers

In a time where newspapers are going bust, adding a subscription fee to the "Discussions" forum, might make a ripple in the AC's pool of debt, but it won't make many friends with most posters.

Alan English
6
Points
Alan English 12/03/10 - 07:11 pm
0
0
Riverman1, Not many around

Riverman1,
Not many around here. Larger papers have rolled it out or have something in the works. You are familiar with WSJ and NYT, no doubt. Some pals in the industry report discussions about plans at their same size papers. We aren't leading here, and we may only be slightly ahead of a wave. Not really sure.
We are doing it differently, going with a metered approach on specific content rather than a hard wall on everything. Check PaidContent.org, if you want to learn more about developments in these areas.

diamondpaste
0
Points
diamondpaste 12/03/10 - 07:13 pm
0
0
Please charge AR double

Please charge AR double

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