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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Riverman1
86790
Points
Riverman1 12/03/10 - 07:37 pm
0
0
Okay, okay, I'm in, but I

Okay, okay, I'm in, but I wouldn't get a hard copy paper again even if you paid me. That thing just trashed up the house and if you went out of town for a few days was like taking out an ad to the bad guys.

Since, I'm going to be a paying customer now who makes lots of comments, I feel more involved somehow. It's a feeling like I imagine Jimmy Olsen used to have when he stuck the "PRESS" card in his fedora when he was on the way out to cover a big story. Can I come down there and get some of the ink on my hands from the presses or something?

Junket831
0
Points
Junket831 12/03/10 - 08:33 pm
0
0
AC it seems print subscribers

AC it seems print subscribers should have free access to online content. Eventually you'll phase the hard copy out, the sooner the better. By charging your current customers extra it will discourage many from taking the plunge.

One suggestion I have is to format your online version similar to the print copy. I too enjoy having the print ads to help keep me posted. These should be incorporated into the online version too. If you can keep the cost low, more local businesses would consider the AC online for advertising.

Some online papers present their home page as an electronic version of their print copy. The AC should give this a try too. Many longtime readers enjoy the format of a good newspaper as much as the experience of holding it. These new tablet PCs are now including page turning capability that would suit the format of the old newspapers.

CobaltGeorge
164292
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/03/10 - 09:10 pm
0
0
For just once, I would like

For just once, I would like to see AC tell the truth about this big change in policy instead of using the normal Political Correctness being used about the needed additional cash flow. The hand writing was on the wall when the new TOS became effective. I have always enjoyed the AC and respected many of the staff members. This may or may not be a good move but only time will determine if it was right or wrong. The additional cost will not effect me to see how it flies.

CobaltGeorge
164292
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/03/10 - 09:19 pm
0
0
One other thing, I have lived

One other thing, I have lived may whole life under the Common Sense American Flag and will not accept living under the blind clouds of the Sickle PC Flag. I will always speak the truth and nothing but the truth with my years of common sense, but will always stand corrected and apologetic when proven wrong.

It is your newspaper and I will support it.

maandpa
448
Points
maandpa 12/03/10 - 11:35 pm
0
0
Well, I was trained to go

Well, I was trained to go online when my newspaper does not arrive on time. When my paper arrives past 5:15 in the morning, it goes in the trash for I have to go to work and do not have time to read it. By the time I get off work, I have heard the news and do not care to read old news. I believe subscribers should not have to pay an additional fee to read the online news.

Fundamental_Arminian
1849
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 12/03/10 - 11:45 pm
0
0
"AC it seems print

"AC it seems print subscribers should have free access to online content" (Junket831).

As a long-time subscriber, I agree or think we should at least get to subscribe online for a reduced rate. If not, I'll probably switch to an online subscription since I like seeing the comments.

scoopdedoop64
2423
Points
scoopdedoop64 12/04/10 - 02:00 am
0
0
I knew it was coming and I

I knew it was coming and I can't blame AC at all for doing it. I also want to thank the AC for the past several years I have enjoyed the free local news and forums. That said, it's really not worth it to me and I will probably just read Fox News and CNN news rather than pay any fees. that is just me but again AC I understand and wish you the best.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 12/04/10 - 02:02 am
0
0
To rid myself of Milton

To rid myself of Milton Rubin,popup ads/banners,and poor grammar digital subscription sounds like a good deal.

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 12/04/10 - 02:07 am
0
0
I am happy to pay for the use

I am happy to pay for the use of the Chronicle. I read it so thoroughly and so often, I have often felt that I should somehow pay for it. I never click on ads, either. I think it is a great idea.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 12/04/10 - 05:23 am
0
0
Well, that's one way to get
Unpublished

Well, that's one way to get rid of me!

galaxygrl
1255
Points
galaxygrl 12/04/10 - 07:32 am
0
0
Here's the deal guys, you

Here's the deal guys, you still get all the pop up ads and redirects to ads even if you pay, from Alan English's mouth. They need that revenue too, subscribers are not enough to keep the paper running when one ad can pay for half of someone's salary.

natchez
0
Points
natchez 12/04/10 - 08:39 am
0
0
Good bye, Augusta Chronicle.

Good bye, Augusta Chronicle.

sonic_imperial
0
Points
sonic_imperial 12/04/10 - 08:47 am
0
0
Yes, would a married couple

Yes, would a married couple have to purchase 2 accounts if they wanted to use separate logins?

fftaz71
108
Points
fftaz71 12/04/10 - 08:58 am
0
0
Someone said something about

Someone said something about they should get a discounted rate to access online if they are paid subscribers...you are...2.95 vs 6.95/month.
For those who said they would leave if they had to pay...its reallly your loss...not the AC. Things dont come free...the AC has to pay for a server to provide their paper, someone to upload the stories and update them, provide web design. They probably have to pay someone for the comments section as well. Ill have to see how things go, but if I pass my 100 free articles, if my finances allow it, Ill have to pay up.
One thing I wonder...if one wishes to subscribe to the digital edition, can they pay for a year in full or does it have to be monthly?? Id prefer a one time payment so I dont have to add one more thing to remember to pay...

JesusIsComing
2
Points
JesusIsComing 12/04/10 - 09:11 am
0
0
I predict a drastic drop in

I predict a drastic drop in readership online. I'll be sticking with Drudge and WorldNetDaily - both are free but solicit donations and the content is always one day ahead of the Chronicle.

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 12/04/10 - 09:38 am
0
0
I'd also like to know how a

I'd also like to know how a family will be affected. As far as the comment "you support a model of shared civic responsibility and credible commerce"....are you saying my paying for a paper is my responsibility?

The business model is changing? The business model changed a long time ago AC. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on this idea NOT working. I think it will backfire on subscriptions. That said, my family is interested in the digital model but it needs to offer something it hasn't before.

Funny thing is, I wrote about digital subscriptions a year+ ago and Mr English told me things were fine the way they were. I still have the email.

jimmyc
0
Points
jimmyc 12/04/10 - 09:40 am
0
0
Goodbye, so long, farewell!!

Goodbye, so long, farewell!!

getalife
4
Points
getalife 12/04/10 - 10:02 am
0
0
I live on a fixed income and

I live on a fixed income and don't drink Starbucks, so this means $80.00 more dollars on a mighty thin budget. I guess I will rely on the TV news. Sure seems like the wrong time to start charging with the economy so bad and so many people out of work.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 12/04/10 - 10:11 am
0
0
Always entertaining... Did
Unpublished

Always entertaining... Did English actually state/ imply that the Comical is NOT an " agenda-driven special interest" ?? You learn something every day, I suppose. But Sean has already offered to pay me a monthly fee if I will NOT subscribe.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 12/04/10 - 11:03 am
0
0
Alan English IS way behind

Alan English IS way behind the curve. The NY Times tried subscription for premium articles and gave up on the idea. The NY Times is free. Here is what I posted on the AC Forum:

I despise not only the right-wing reactionary editorial policy of The Augusta Chronicle editorial board and its compliant editorial staff, I also despise the hate filled, lying, yellow journalism style of its editorial pages. The denizens of Augusta and the world will be better off without The Augusta Chronicle under the ownership of Morris enterprises. I hope it fails. I won't contribute a dime for the survival of Morris enterprises. Otherwise I have nothing against this newspaper or its employees.

Here is how is how I informed/addressed facebook readers: The Augusta Chronicle aka "The South's Oldest Newspaper" under the ownership of Billy Morris is or has recently been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Now the decision has been made to make online access to The Chronicle, Augusta's only daily newspaper, by subscription only. ... (read the rest of my comment on facebook b/c the AC editors won't permit me to express my opinion in full here.)

RIP Augusta Chronicle.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 12/04/10 - 11:04 am
0
0
I will pay because I enjoy it

I will pay because I enjoy it and I realize it costs money to maintain this site. For those who do not want to pay, are you of the entitlement mindset?

JesusIsComing
2
Points
JesusIsComing 12/04/10 - 11:23 am
0
0
Simple economics: the more

Simple economics: the more you charge for something, the less people use it.

justthefacts
22679
Points
justthefacts 12/04/10 - 11:25 am
0
0
It didn't work for the NY

It didn't work for the NY Times, but there were many other options in NYC for local/national news. Besides, who is going to pay to read Maureen Dowd or Paul Krugman? We'll see how it goes.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 12/04/10 - 11:53 am
0
0
People amuse me. Online

People amuse me.

Online readers have been getting something for free, and now they're complaining about it.

Try walking into McDonald's and expecting to get a free Big Mac. Go to the gas station and try not paying for gas. Maybe you could demand a free hair cut next time you're at the salon.

The Chronicle isn't another entitlement program, and I don't think its employees are volunteers.

You expect everything to be given to you for free. They expect to earn a pay check for an honest day's work.

Sheesh.

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 12/04/10 - 05:55 pm
0
0
If you were following

If you were following comments on a thread and hit refresh would that count again against the 100 count? I could easily use up most my counts on a single article if that's the case.....

Riverman1
86790
Points
Riverman1 12/04/10 - 12:05 pm
0
0
So no other newspapers in GA

So no other newspapers in GA or SC or doing it and the New York Times stopped the policy. Lucky us. We get to pay.

Austin Rhodes
2903
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/04/10 - 12:19 pm
0
0
I believe the papers with

I believe the papers with NATIONAL and INTERNATIONAL readership do okay with online advertising revenue...local publications are a different story. But regardless of what readers are posting, I have discussed this with MANY media professionals and it is the trend.

Besides...anything worth having is worth paying for.

Jake
32844
Points
Jake 12/04/10 - 12:37 pm
0
0
I can't imagine myself paying

I can't imagine myself paying to read the mostly one-sided right slanted editorials. If this paper had more balance then I would be inclined to subscribe. It was fun while it lasted as far as the other features are concerned.

moderate321
324
Points
moderate321 12/04/10 - 12:51 pm
0
0
"Besides...anything worth

"Besides...anything worth having is worth paying for."
--Austin Rhodes

How much do we pay for your radio show? Just askin'! :)

I think that most papers in the small and medium markets are going to be watching AC very carefully. If it succeeds, which I don't think that it will, they will be a leader. I believe that readership will gradually fall off as they phase in the paid plan. I think that this is the beginning of the end.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 12/04/10 - 12:52 pm
0
0
Jake, JohnRandolph and the

Jake, JohnRandolph and the like crack me up.

They hate the newspaper so much that they read it. Haha.

On the next Dr. Phil.... It was a love/hate relationship. They hated reading the paper, but they loved to read the paper.

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