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
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Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 12/04/10 - 01:27 pm
0
0
Austin said,

Austin said, "Besides...anything worth having is worth paying for."

Oh, don't you just love hackneyed platitudes. How about "A penny saved is a penny earned." Makes it so, doesn't it?

Now don't get me wrong, if I owned the Chronicle and it were losing money, I'd try ANYTHING. The news gathering team with the ability to find the news and write intelligently about it is the value. The paper is only one container it can be kept in. Times are changing.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 12/04/10 - 01:28 pm
0
0
If I have to pay for the
Unpublished

If I have to pay for the service- I don't want to see Milton Ruben ads several times a day advertising the same 4 cars they don't have in stock.

Austin Rhodes
2854
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/04/10 - 02:02 pm
0
0
Radio's answer to this a

Radio's answer to this a while back (surviving in these changing economic times) was wholesale consolidation and automation. There are about 75% fewer people bringing you local radio than there used to be, just 10-15 years ago.

For music formats it is a snap...for stations like WGAC, where we depend on live people to respond, report, and generate live news and information...it is a much more difficult task.

Fortunately, we have a sizable "niche" audience whose income and spending habits allow us to charge a higher rate for advertising...

Hard to compare our product to the newspaper's...the broadcast product has always been 100% advertiser supported. (except for NPR, which we real broadcasters pay taxes to have compete with us)

The newspaper industry hit a triple whammy with free access on the internet:

1. Giving away valuable info for free, that they used to be paid for.

2. Discouraging people like me, who always had paid subscriptions, to re-enlist, because hey...it is online for free.

3. The shrinking subscriber base meant lower rates for advertisers.

Throw in a sucky economy and it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to connect the dots.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 12/04/10 - 02:55 pm
0
0
Add to that, TV and radio

Add to that, TV and radio "personalities" with no concept of ethics or what it takes to be a journalist stealing stories from the newspaper.

On occasion, they might give "credit" to the newspaper, but I doubt they ever pay for what they steal.

I'm surprised newspapers have survived this long. Imagine Burger King stealing McDonald's fries. Would McDonald's just sit back and do nothing?

Boogaloo
1
Points
Boogaloo 12/04/10 - 03:31 pm
0
0
I was connecting the dots on

I was connecting the dots on AR's 1:02 post until he hit me with "rocket surgeon".

Darby
25095
Points
Darby 12/04/10 - 04:09 pm
0
0
I believe Austin was

I believe Austin was combining the metaphors, Brain Surgeon and Rocket Scientist. Whether he did it purposely or not, who knows?? We're talking about Austin here, after all.

Austin Rhodes
2854
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/04/10 - 04:44 pm
0
0
Insider...I don't know who

Insider...I don't know who you are accusing of stealing, but I would hope you would be bright enough to know that someone who is in my position would be called out in an instant (by REAL people, not internet spooks) and sued if they ever tried to "steal" anything from another media entity.

I am interested in seeing the "personnel files" of the elected officials you referenced in an earlier post...where do those exist again?

AutumnLeaves
7143
Points
AutumnLeaves 12/04/10 - 04:48 pm
0
0
I wondered when the Augusta

I wondered when the Augusta Chronicle would get around to it. Good move.

WiseOldMan
8
Points
WiseOldMan 12/04/10 - 04:55 pm
0
0
As we move deeper into the

As we move deeper into the digital age, subsribing to internet based applications is the new business model. Software will become by subscription in "The Cloud".
I personally love the new model not only with the AC, but with all new "Cloud" concepts.
We already subscribe to TV and radio, so this is just another move towards that model.
Big City papers have been doing this for years...
Information at one's fingertips...I love it!

toenail
5
Points
toenail 12/04/10 - 06:18 pm
0
0
Frankly, With all the free

Frankly, With all the free news content that can be found on the internet, The Augusta Chronicle simply isn't worth $6.95
per month. You may think it will make you a profit, but I
see it as the end of the Augusta Chronicle. Been nice knowing you.

AWyld1
3
Points
AWyld1 12/04/10 - 07:14 pm
0
0
As a paying subcriber to the

As a paying subcriber to the newspaper if I am charged just as much as a non subscriber I will not be viewing the paper online. I may even consider dropping my subscription altogether. I believe in loyalty and as a subscriber for over 20 years if the AC wants me to continue be a subscriber then they better come up with another plan. I think this is a mistake and they are gonna lose viewers online and hence will have to lower advertisement rates...good luck...

Sean Moores
192
Points
Sean Moores 12/04/10 - 07:55 pm
0
0
AWyld, "Current print

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

AWyld1
3
Points
AWyld1 12/04/10 - 08:17 pm
0
0
I doubt I will pay...it's

I doubt I will pay...it's really not worth it to me...I like to comment but not enough to pay 35 dollars a year...I predict this will be a mistake on your part. Viewership will go way down and so will your advertisement rates..you will either make about the same amount or less. I think it's a bad move and in less than a year will be reverted back to free or the online version will be scrapped altogether...once again good luck. Thanx for the correction Sean...I would like to see you try to get the money out of non-subscribers rather than trying to milk even more from loyal customers. That's just my opinion but I bet viewership goes way down...guess it's the metro spirit online for me..

KNECKBONE
26
Points
KNECKBONE 12/04/10 - 08:26 pm
0
0
just borrow regular paper

just borrow regular paper from family members.ha ha.what next 3d newspaper.

KNECKBONE
26
Points
KNECKBONE 12/04/10 - 08:28 pm
0
0
for 3 dollars a year town

for 3 dollars a year town crier will read it out loud every day at 9 am in front of wal mart next

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 12/04/10 - 08:32 pm
0
0
A facebook friend points out

A facebook friend points out "making online subscription only will really ruin what business the classified section still has left... not a smart move in my opinion". I hadn't thought of that aspect.

Even handed, balanced editorial content could mean The Augusta Chronicle would be a newspaper for everyone not just right wing reactionaries. The Chronicle could easily run a balance of conservative and liberal columnists. They could also back off their yellow journalism, tabloid style of editorials which really are sophomoric at best and utterly inane and inflammatory at worst. Fire Mike Ryan. Have him take on for Billy Morris, but ultimate culpability for the pathetic editorial policy of The Chronicle lies with the editorial board more than the editorial staff.

Alan English pointing to The Wall Street Journal as an example of a subscription model that works is faulty because that newspaper has a business clientele willing to pay for cutting edge business news. The Augusta Chronicle is a general / local newspaper without a specific niche to exploit like the W$J.

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 12/04/10 - 08:48 pm
0
0
I bet the same readers who

I bet the same readers who like this idea everyone should pay also like the move to parking meters downtown.

"Goody, goody, I paid to read the paper online this morning and now I can pay to park on Broad St. We should make Riverwatch Pkwy a toll road. Why doesn't the library charge you to check out books? Why don't we have to pay to listen to Austin?"

member
67
Points
member 12/04/10 - 09:35 pm
0
0
As a 20 plus year print

As a 20 plus year print subscriber, it aggravates me that you want to charge me no matter how little it is. I use quite a few news site each day and yours will be one less when you start charging. Maybe I can do without the print version too.

diamondpaste
0
Points
diamondpaste 12/04/10 - 11:05 pm
0
0
Hoping a REAL person will

Hoping a REAL person will call AR out!!!!!

Austin Rhodes
2854
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/04/10 - 11:12 pm
0
0
Yeah...me too DP, me too...

Yeah...me too DP, me too...

augusta citizen
9122
Points
augusta citizen 12/05/10 - 09:00 am
0
0
GreenvilleOnline (The

GreenvilleOnline (The Greenville News) started charging awhile back. It doesn't appear that way when you pull up the home page, but when you click an article it gives you the first paragraph of the article, then says you must subscribe to read the rest of the article. I used to read it about once a week, but didn't subscribe when they made the change. I think locals probably largely subscribe, but those out of town people with ties to an area don't.

mawtnez
0
Points
mawtnez 12/05/10 - 09:29 am
0
0
Yeah, good luck with this.

Yeah, good luck with this. If your stories were really worth anything, it's a good idea to embrace the reality of digital media. However, I won't be spending a nickel to help support ACES.

freeradical
1071
Points
freeradical 12/05/10 - 09:56 am
0
0
After the last substancial

After the last substancial rate jacking on the newspaper the one thing

that kept me subscribing had nothing to do with the paper itself.

My dog's enjoyment at snatching it up in the driveway every morning

was something I hated to take away from her.

Now even that is on the wane.

The weekly paper has become so whisper thin I am surprised they are

even able to toss it anymore.

They are not even able to get enough distance to throw it up under my

car like they used to do half the time.

And at least a couple of times instead of snatching it straight up my dog

has stood there pawing at it a little bit looking at me a little puzzled as if

to say:

" Seriously, is this really it, or is this just a piece of garbage that the

wind blew up in the driveway? "

One morning she picked it up just long enough to spit it out again,

confident that there was no way that it was the genuine article.

Now they want to aggravate me even more.

Thanks to the chronicle when it comes time to renew again I think me,

and my dog, will be much less sentimental about giving it up.

CATFISHSTEW
14
Points
CATFISHSTEW 12/05/10 - 10:30 am
0
0
I just don't know if this is

I just don't know if this is a good idea for the AC. I know times are a changing.I have found if you want to know whats giong on,in an independent voice on political views, newsmax.com will serve you well.
you wont get the local crime rate and stats by county man but give that
option a try...you may be suprised.

Crabby Appleton
0
Points
Crabby Appleton 12/05/10 - 11:16 am
0
0
The move towards fees for

The move towards fees for digital online content seems logical in light of how the public is morphing from print to computer for getting their news. I can see why it's happening and I understand that probably everytime the Chronicle loses a print
customer they gain an online customer. I support the movement but along with that support I would hope the Chronicle would beef up it's web presence to make it more user friendly and easier to navigate. Stories get lost from one day to the next, many stories wind up in spots where you wouldn't expect to look for them. If the online version could more resemble the format and layout of the print version it would be helpful. I dislike MSNBC but to me they have to most navigable and user friendly web site of any out there.

And I do believe the archives should be opened fully for those who like to delve into old stories, obituaries and history.

I also agree with a previous post regarding online ads. I don't like an ad being put purposely between me and a place I'm trying to get to, they're nothing more than pop-ups in another guise. They are annoying for sure. However, it would be a value in putting an ad section into a tabbed spot for those value shoppers. It would seem to ba a worthwhile endeavor and would help to raise some revenue.

jamesnewsome
38
Points
jamesnewsome 12/05/10 - 11:13 am
0
0
I stopped subscribing many

I stopped subscribing many years ago because of the pitiful local delivery and the total waste of paper. While I enjoy the online access, I won't pay $6.95 a month for the current format.

Frankly, I don't mind the advertisements and rather prefer them if the newspaper online is a pdf version of the print copy. Go a step further and embed the advertisers' web sites to the advertisements. I think your revenue would increase. The technology is already available.

Then charge normal subscription rates for hard copies and allow only your subscribers access to the paper. I don't think your advertisers care if their customers read the advertisement on newsprint or online as long as they support their business.

I don't believe that tip-toeing in the hot water will help. Either get into the online business or get out. Basically, I'm saying do it right or don't do it at all.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 12/05/10 - 01:06 pm
0
0
If the powers that be at The

If the powers that be at The Chronicle have one whit of business sense reading over the postings above should give them pause. Maybe Alan English and/or other business/news managers should be shown the door along with Mike Ryan. These guys are flailing. Whatever Alan English's salary is it's too much. Reminds me of well compensated CEOs who ride their companies into the ground.

The Chronicle is going down, and I don't mean only in quality. It is a business failure as well as a failure because of its tabloid style editorial "journalism". No reporter is to blame IMO. The print edition should be phased out except on Sunday. I feel sorry for the pressmen. Online advertising is the death knell of print advertising.

The online Chronicle won't be worth purchasing as long as it is a right-wing reactionary rag. If it changed its editorial policy, made pod casts of its original reporting available for smart phones and other portable media, adopts and/or pioneers other interactive technologies this newspaper could evolve and adapt. A lot of people spend time in their cars. What about Chronicle audio apps for drivers and video apps for smart phone users?

Conventional, group thinking; poor business leadership; and dictatorial ownership are dooming this daily. Without RADICAL change this dinosaur will become extinct. The Chronicle's administration is whistling in the wind if they think online subscription alone will save them.

Austin Rhodes
2854
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/05/10 - 02:28 pm
0
0
Syn/Cain...gonna go out on a

Syn/Cain...gonna go out on a limb here and give the AC the benefit of the doubt in this department. They were one of the few LEADING the national trend when they went online in 1996.

I was standing in the middle of a group of Post Gazette managers/editors in Pittsburgh in 1997 as this topic came up...none of them, nor their national TV and radio counterparts...could imagine why the AC was doing what they were doing, and they were all asking me about it.

Oh...and this content that you keep belittling, the AC wins awards judged by their peers consistently, year after year after year. So while they may not measure up to YOUR oddball standards, the people who actually know the business and art of newspaper writing disagree with you.

Imagine that.

fontana
0
Points
fontana 12/05/10 - 02:40 pm
0
0
Enjoyed it while it lasted.

Enjoyed it while it lasted. See ya.

Sean Moores
192
Points
Sean Moores 12/05/10 - 02:48 pm
0
0
There are so many questions

There are so many questions here that I don't have time to answer them all on my day off, but tomorrow I will get with Alan and we will try to answer as many as possible.
One thing though, we do have the actual PDFs of the paper available online if you are a current print edition subscriber. Click the "Home delivery and E-edition" link near the top right of our home page and you can access that with your subscription account number. We will change the link name tomorrow to reflect our new digital subscription, but it will still take you to the E-edition. I'm not sure how access to the E-edition will work with the digital subscription, but I can find out tomorrow.

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