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News-Sentinel, The Record and other papers are asking: Should readers be charged for online content?

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Posted: Saturday, February 20, 2010 12:00 am

In January, The Record of Stockton took a bold move: It began charging readers for access to some online content.

Others in the news industry, including the News-Sentinel, are watching The Record's move with keen interest. For years, most papers have given away content on the Web in hopes of attracting new readers and, perhaps more important, new advertising dollars.

But advertising revenue online has proven meager, and many publishers wonder if they've hurt their print circulation by giving content away online.

Now, The Record is part of a movement to see whether readers will pay for online content, and whether closing off some of the free material will help stabilize print circulation.

Much could be at stake: If the paid model works, news companies could steady their finances and preserve print journalism for years to come.

Record Publisher Roger Coover said executives at The Record conducted extensive studies on their pay model, and he expects other papers in similar markets to follow their example.

"Before, subscribers were subsidizing the people who were reading for free," Coover said. "This model ensures everyone pays their fair share."

The print model isn't going away, and the pay wall will help supplement the paper's business, Coover said.

A publisher's view

Coover said the response has been better than expected. Although Coover said he didn't have much data since the program is only a month old, he said the only people who have expressed displeasure are those who never paid for the paper before.

He said The Record is able to charge for content because it has no other major competition in San Joaquin County. Papers in larger markets like Boston and New York would have a more difficult time with creating pay walls because users have more places to gather information about their hometown.

"Nobody can compete in San Joaquin County like we do," Coover said. "For our size and situation, it makes sense."

The way people receive their news has evolved dramatically since the advent of the Internet in the 1990s. Giving away news on the Web has been the rule, and attempts to charge for it have been mixed.

The New York Times has attempted and abandoned pay models for its online content several times. In 2011, the paper will attempt again. The Wall Street Journal has successfully enacted a pay wall, but it's believed the news outlet has been successful in doing so because it offers specialized financial coverage to a target audience of bankers, investors and brokers. Newspapers nationwide have struggled to build revenues as the Internet draws readers away from the printed copy, and some have folded.

The Record's pay wall works by charging readers fees depending on differing levels of access, and whether the reader is already a print subscriber. (See accompanying information box.)

An unusual business model?

Some offer a startling model for the news online business: the pornography industry.

How The Record's pay wall works

— First-time subscribers can get all-access to The Record's print and online content for $2.67 a week.
— There are various levels of access to the Web site, beginning with three free visits per month and increasing to an all-access level.
— Premium subscribers also have daily access to eRecord, an exact replica of the print edition that allows readers to see the newspaper page-by-page online.
Source: www.recordnet.com

Adult Web sites that charge users have lessons for the newspaper industry because they offer exclusive content and consistent updates, Del Stone, who oversees the Northwest Florida Daily News Web site www.nwfdailynews.com, said in an e-mail.

"The beauty of the model is it would work perfectly for a news and information provider because the content changes more rapidly than it can be undermined," he wrote.

For many pornography sites, users pay one of several flat rates for a membership that can last for anywhere between a month to a year.

Marty Weybret, publisher for the Lodi News-Sentinel, disagrees.

"The news is not as sexy as pornography," he said.

As it has always been with newspapers, coupling audience with advertising dollars is the key to the success of online newspapers.

"Any time you diminish the audience size, you diminish the effectiveness of advertising," Weybret said.

Newspapers could also take a page from the blogosphere by adding virtual tip jars to their Web sites. One such Web site, www.kachingle.com, enables users to make small donations to sites they frequent. Kachingle users are charged $5 a month, and the money is broken down based on site visits. Web sites that participate with Kachingle have an icon on their page that users can click on. From there, Kachingle distributes donations monthly among the participating sites you click on the most.

Weybret said that while he hasn't ruled out the thought, he isn't sold on it.

"People have a hard enough time paying for news online; it will be even harder for them to think of it as a charity," he said.

The News-Sentinel launched an experiment several years ago known as Sentinel Gold, which provided exclusive content for print subscribers online, such as coupons, blogs and real estate sales information. Weybret said it was discontinued because it didn't gain popularity. The News-Sentinel also charged for its online archives starting in 1998, but discontinued the practice five years later because it wasn't effective.

"The income and traffic were abysmal," Weybret said. "We didn't promote it well, and as soon as users hit a pay wall, they found better things to do."

One college professor sides with Weybret's assessment.

"As long as there is free content available on the Internet, people will gravitate towards that as opposed to paying," said Ed Arke, chair of the communications department at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. in an e-mail. "The only qualifier I might add would be a local paper may have a better chance at success than, say, the New York Times because the content might be more unique."

Where do we go from here?

Newspaper insiders and publishers alike know this is a time to get creative.

As a journalist and entrepreneur, Steve Outing is against pay walls for general news Web sites because he says it can damage a news organization's profits and influence. He warns that putting up pay walls can reduce traffic to a Web site and will in turn drive down advertising revenue because fewer people will be exposed to the ads.

When newspapers charge for their pieces of investigative journalism, Outing cringes, because he believes it goes against the industry's foundation of informing the public.

The Miami Herald adopted a donation icon on its Web site similar to what Kachingle offers recently, but Outing said it's ineffective because it asks people to pay with a credit card, and the process takes too many clicks. He said it would work better if the Herald adopted a PayPal structure that made it easier for people to donate.

Asking for donations could supplement income, but Outing said it alone won't help the industry recover. He said papers must be wary to charge, especially if the content isn't exclusive and is easily found elsewhere.

There is another issue a paper in a town such as Lodi should think about when it comes to putting up pay walls online.

A newspaper that serves a community trying to establish itself as a tourist destination would be unwise to put up a pay wall for online content, Outing said.

"I'm not sure it makes sense to lock out folks from outside," he said.

Great reporting will bring readers

One industry consultant thinks it's crucial for journalism to go back to the basics of strong reporting in order to give users a reason to want to fork their over money for content.

"Quality of content will be deciding factor," said Julie Schoenfeld, CEO of Perfect Market, a technology company that works with publishers to increase their revenues.

She said there are three types of consumers of news information on the Internet: brand users, intent users and event users.

Brand users are those with a devotion to a specific publication. Intent users are those looking for a certain subject or story. Event users come to a site because of breaking news or some specific event.

Schoenfeld said Internet users don't like using search engines to find news and then being forced to pay when they want to read an article.

She said pay walls are not the most efficient method because her research has shown 80 percent of pages looked at on Web sites come from 20 percent of the visitors. She said that by reversing that statistic, it shows that 80 percent of visitors account for 20 percent of page views. Schoenfeld said those users are coming in from search engines and other back doors.

Weybret said he hasn't ruled out putting up a pay wall on the News-Sentinel's Web site, and is monitoring the successes and failures of other papers.

"Innovation is like wagon trains heading West, and someone has to be first," said Weybret. "I will be very happy to see if The (Stockton) Record gets to California without any arrows in its back. If they do, I will be the first to follow."

Contact Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com.

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  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 12:46 pm on Fri, Feb 26, 2010.


    You know, I'll bet if we started our own blog, and everyone who lives in Lodi (sorry, I don't any longer but still keep up with what's going on), everyone could post what they've seen or heard each day, and we'd probably know more than we know right now, plus somet things that we shouldn't :-)

  • posted at 7:43 am on Thu, Feb 25, 2010.


    Maybe other/new Lodi news sources will pop-up online when the LNS starts charging for their online content.

  • posted at 7:42 am on Thu, Feb 25, 2010.


    I wonder if the other sites that link to the LNS will no longer share Lodi news when the LNS starts charging for their online content.

  • posted at 4:07 am on Thu, Feb 25, 2010.


    Your online service access with the Record comes free with your paid home delivery subscription. The News-Sentinel will lose valuable advertising revenues if they charge for online access. They'll never get enough online subscribers to visit their website to support enough visits that will derive revenues from their same old, stale advertisers that have had the same ads for years.

  • posted at 4:02 am on Thu, Feb 25, 2010.


    And, observer, I wouldn't expect much more from a wannabe good old boy!

  • posted at 4:01 am on Thu, Feb 25, 2010.


    I don't know why LNS is acting like they're going to consider the public's opinion on this. Just like The Record, they know they're going to start charging. With The Record, it was a joke because they scaled down the content of the news, then they jacked up the price in subscriptions and vending machines, then they charged online! Readers are getting less for a lot more money, and a whole bunch of lies and propaganda thrown in for our reading pleasure to boot...

  • posted at 4:01 am on Thu, Feb 25, 2010.


    Observer, for being the laughingstock of the past week, you don't have much room to talk.

  • posted at 1:05 am on Thu, Feb 25, 2010.


    Talk about back peddling. ROTFLMAO

  • posted at 3:14 pm on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.


    Layla, I didn't call you any names that I can remember. You are a good reporter and I'll always fell that way. The consensus among myself and most I know that read the Sentinel just believe that your owners and editor don't let you report and write articles in their paper that don't meet their protective standards. Jordan, Maggie and Brian are also awesome but the editing there at the Sentinel leaves something to be desired. Just the same good old boys fluff articles and not much more.

  • posted at 1:52 pm on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.


    Aimee wrote "It's called recognizing that you aren't the be all-end all of the cyber world (or real life for that matter)."Now there's something for you to work on, Aimee.

  • posted at 12:48 pm on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.


    I think the Stockton Record has given itself another black eye. This paper will not survive. At this point, I'll use somthing els to line the litter box. I live in the hills and use to pick up a paper on my way to work in Stockton. We don't have nor want paper delivery at home. I bought a paper every morning, but they lost me as a costomer when the web site cut back and screwed folks like me. This paper dosn't have much going for it anyway. The Sentinel website is a way for me to check up on the doing's in Lodi, I feel the community should have a resorce to tap. I hope this paper dosn't make the same error in jugment that the Record made. If they change their website, I'll just have to use cardboard on the bottom of the litterbox.

  • posted at 12:15 pm on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.


    pre$$ure$on: If I'm called names, I will not continue a conversation here. You know how to reach me if you'd like to talk further. As for Andrew Adams, no, he was not fired and he was not laid off. He found another job that allowed him to be closer to family.

  • posted at 10:48 am on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.


    Lodian: At least I admit when I am wrong and/or make a mistake. It's called recognizing that you aren't the be all-end all of the cyber world (or real life for that matter).But I admire your "honesty and passion"!Mainframe, that was probably your best one yet!

  • posted at 4:22 am on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.


    If we cannot afford to purchase the newsprint version of your product, what makes LNS think we can afford to purchase the online product?

  • posted at 1:13 am on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.


    I almost forgot my most important point. People read the online paper now BECAUSE it's free, which provides you the numbers in your prospectus that cause your paid advertisers to salivate. No readers....no advertisers.

  • posted at 1:02 am on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.


    No, I would not pay to subscribe to an online edition of any paper. There are just too many free news sources available today, particularly for regional, national, and world news. I can find out anything that's happened locally, or will be happening simply by stopping by the barber shop or my local grocery store. Of course, for local events there's also the Chamber of Commerce. Oh, and I really don't care if Rosie Mozi's Posies aren't doing well this season.

  • posted at 6:35 pm on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Give it up, Aimee.

  • posted at 3:20 pm on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    akaron: That was my lame attempt at a joke. I've been accused of being too serious here at times, so I thought I'd throw in a little humor. But you're absolutely right about paying to come on here to read the blogs and articles. Don't get me wrong, there are many interesting people on here, different personalities and viewpoints, but worth paying for? Hmmm...not so much.

  • posted at 12:43 pm on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Layla, here's another article from the Sentinel in regards to the tce/pce pollution by Andrew Adams. http://lodinews.com/articles/2008/11/01/news/1_debate_081101.txt Wasn't he fired, er laid off, shortly after this article appeared in the News-Sentinel?

  • posted at 11:57 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    And isn't that ground beneath Lodi Printing and the Lodi News still contaminated? Why hasn't there been an effort to try to even get started? Maybe your fine city councilmen are impeding the cleanup process?

  • posted at 11:54 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Layla, maybe I missed it your creampuff articles about Mr. Katzakian's past life and love of race cars, he did, indeed, settle with the city for $250,000, paid for, of course, by his insurer. I believe it was right after he was elected and he was forgiven by the city council, maybe in the first week. This article was about his race car venture, by the way.And nowhere in either of those articles do I see where the same city council members let the Lodi News-Sentinel or the Weybret's of the hook, again paid by their insurers and not a penny more, I believe. Aren't they all still living the high life while you pay the $30-50 million tab for them?

  • posted at 11:22 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Oh ammie! I guess i was partial patronizing dude but my main point was I certianly would not PAY!! So in that respect i do agree with him there is just nothing here worth PAYING for.

  • posted at 10:13 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Layla, why would you humor press with the facts? Of course he remembers those articles as he was posting under another name at the time. He's used so many names he probably just can't remember what name he was using at the time.

  • posted at 9:52 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    akaron: What?--These blogs are insignificant?--*sniff*--Does that mean that my posts, too, are insignificant? NOOOOO! I thought we had something special here...

  • posted at 8:53 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Dude...well in a way you are right, this blog is insignificant and I certainly would not pay to read it. But its something to do, yes it means little.Actualy my main purpose is to to make the sanctimonious idiocracy that is city council feel offended or any one who supports them that just might see this.

  • posted at 8:43 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Edumacation...wrong chain! LOL

  • posted at 8:41 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    ...where art thou

  • posted at 8:31 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Lodian- You know? Sistah Shirley Q.

  • posted at 8:30 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    See what she says about Ebonics Airways with captain Cleotus Jefferson of the Macadamia Jubilation Congregation.

  • posted at 7:57 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Oh brother.

  • posted at 7:18 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Layla, way to go. Dude loves to see know-it-alls get egg on their face. There may be hope for America after all.

  • posted at 7:01 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Our archives are public -- yes, even to those who never subscribe to the paper, buy an ad or stop to think that the employees actually have feelings. They're at lodinews.com/archives. I have a bunch of stuff to get done in the next 4.5 hours, but at a quick glance to answer pre$$ure$on's question, here's one link:http://lodinews.com/articles/2006/09/23/news/1_katzakian_060923.txtAnd here's another:http://lodinews.com/articles/2006/09/08/news/4_katzakian_060908.txt

  • posted at 6:17 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Layla, where can I find them in the archives? Or were they removed? Please tell me so I can compare the accuracy and information released by the Lodi News-Sentinel. I vaguely remember a short article with very little detail, especially concerning the contamination by the Weybrets and this newspaper, the Lodi News-Sentinel. Please don't think I'm the only one angry about paying their share of the $30,000,000 or so tab. And all that's been done is one little well pump to clean that whole area up.

  • posted at 5:31 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Pressure: I hate (well, maybe hate is too strong of a word) to say this but you just got SERVED!Go Layla!! (sorry pressure, but I couldn't resist) LOL!**************** ****************************************Dude: I'm glad you recieve so much enjoyment from us here "inbreds". I also enjoy your ingenuous and captivating comments (oh, sorry, I almost forgot myself..."yur wurds mak me laff cuz they so smart an' funny!)LOL!!

  • posted at 4:42 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    pre$$ure$on: Actually, the Lodi News-Sentinel DID cover those stories you linked to about the groundwater contamination. I wrote them, along with many, many other articles about the groundwater contamination case.

  • posted at 4:35 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Free Dumb of the Press

  • posted at 4:34 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Dude would much rather read the petty squabblings of agricultural based small town inbreds for free.....who in their right mind would pay to read the insignificant thoughts of even more insignificant people on these painfully insignificant posts.....Not the Dude thats for sure.

  • posted at 3:47 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    And this one takes the cake: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-155631181.html

  • posted at 3:44 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Another interesting article, of course, from the Stockton Record, but ignored by the Lodi News-Sentinelhttp://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-150704081.html.

  • posted at 3:35 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Akaron, why don't they report articles like this at election time? It should be a small town newspaper like the Sentinel to inform citizens of the dastardly deeds that constantly continue to this day in Lodi. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-150704081.html

  • posted at 3:11 am on Tue, Feb 23, 2010.


    Akaron, don't forget the sweet deal your mayor, Mr. Katzakian, got either. More than pennies on the dollar and both the News-Sentinel and Lodi Printing still sit on that contaminated ground and no one has made an effort to clean the contamination up. Nor even brought up the subject. Why should the Sentinel and Lodi printing be treated specially? Approximately $30,000,000 for this small cleanup and you Lodians are paying the tab for them while they still enjoy the high life.

  • posted at 3:45 pm on Mon, Feb 22, 2010.


    Pre$$ure$on, again I am amazed! truely you are a fountain of knowledge. I forgot all about the toxic waste issue and what happened, which was nothing! You are exactly right. The city council is the cronies of LNS. This papers only value is the skimpy articles they choose to print about local happenings. The key is to filter out the BS and find the truth. Its kind of enjoyable. Most of the time I can figure it out, after all I was born here. Can they realy be considering charging! What a joke! I hope they do so they can get what is coming to them...long overdue, thank you so much for reminding me of how they weaseled out of cleaning up their mess. In the meantime east side improvement comm goes out to look for oil spots on peoples property!

  • posted at 12:13 pm on Mon, Feb 22, 2010.


    One correction regarding Kachingle, which is mentioned in the article. The user only clicks once on the Kachingle Medallion (icon) on a site. No need to click every time they visit. After the first click, every time the user visits the site their visit is noted and at the end of the month the site gets a proportional payout. Kachingle is simple for users because one account works across many sites, a user can read the content without a subscription, and it is complementary with advertising, rather than blocking users from seeing the ads.

  • posted at 6:43 am on Mon, Feb 22, 2010.


    I too deleted the Record from my "favorites" list when they began to charge for access. There are too many free sources of information on the internet, and far better sources at that.I would also not pay to access the LNS site.

  • posted at 1:11 am on Mon, Feb 22, 2010.


    Newpaper sales are declining ? The majority of Americans are hard working, decent with a conservative bent. Newspapers and their employees are predominently lefty liberals. Hence the public does not want what papers are spitting out. Until they face this obvious gap, they will continue to loose customers.

  • posted at 2:55 pm on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    Charging for viewing this site would create a lot less traffic and advertisers would look elsewhere in spending their advertising dollars.

  • posted at 1:51 pm on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    About 30 cents a day for the LNS???. Do you people drink Starbucks, eat a bag of chips, Friday night with pizza n beer??. The newspaper is a bargain even for those of you who can hardly read. This issue seems pretty easy. You drink and puke more than the cost of the Sentinel.

  • posted at 11:15 am on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    I will continue to visit several news sites each day. The LNS each morning is just for local news, sports and editorial content. (I always skip the news & editorial content provided by the wire services to the LNS. By the time the paper arrives at 6 AM the national content is already dated and I have usually already read the national editorial columns the previous day when they were originally posted…) The LNS does do a decent job covering local news and sports and I hope they stick with that core mission… Then it’s off the regional news sites like SF Gate, SJ Merc & the Bee and then the national / world news sites like the NY Times, Washington Post, ABC News, MSNBC, The Guardian UK & Politico. (Yahoo news is my home page.) Now, I obviously don’t have time to read everything on each site but each has sections I love. SF Gate covers all the bay area sports teams I like, the Bee covers state politics well, the NY Times and Washington Post cover national politics and provide great editorial content and ABC, Yahoo and MSNBC update breaking news constantly.

  • posted at 11:13 am on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    When I found out a few weeks ago that the Record had the gall to charge for online content I was amazed. I wrote the editor to convey just what an arrogant, cut off your nose to spite your face policy I think that is… It’s the Stockton Record! Charge for content? You have to be kidding me. “Real papers” like the New York Times have tried the pay model more than once and failed. When will the newspaper business learn that the “pay for news online” train has left the station? The Record will loose ad revenue since only those who subscribe to the print version will visit the site. (That begs the question; if I already subscribe, why would I even want to visit the site? It’s certainly not the 5 or 6 “updates” they have during the day.) All I can say is good luck! The Record has been deleted from my favorites and I bet I’m not alone on that one…

  • posted at 7:20 am on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    I demand free stuff! If I can't get stuff for free, I refuse to use it!

  • posted at 6:03 am on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    Leonard, you're right about the html tags not working. What happened?

  • posted at 6:03 am on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.



  • posted at 6:02 am on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    edu,Thanks for the tip on the Mercury News. I was a faithful Chronicle subscriber over a decade ago, but I noticed they lost their edge, too. I still like their website, though. I also like sacbee.com for many reasons, however, they've changed their graphics and gone much leaner because of the toughening market. Dan Walters writes great stuff.I've never really liked the Stockton Record, again, for many reasons, and I won't get into them here. I'll visit the Mercury News' site. My husband's originally from that area, and he still keeps in touch with the local happenings sometimes.

  • posted at 5:11 am on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    I just have to say that since the Record charges for online content, I no longer read it and therefore I don't see the ads either. I have to believe I am not the only one that has made this choice.

  • posted at 4:28 am on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    The problem with the online news business is that sites have never charged enough money for their ads. In time, I feel that local newspapers will die off in the print form, and all that print ad money will eventually shift to the online sector.

  • posted at 3:42 am on Sun, Feb 21, 2010.


    I feel exactly the way AMITYARK feels about the Lodi Sentinal.IF YOU ARE LOSING MONEY I SUGEST YOU CHARGE MORE FOR ADVERTISING but DO NOT charge to read the news on line. Lodi was my home town for 30 years before I re-married and moved away. My three children still live in Lodi. Lodi will always be my home town. I was born in Stockton and went to school there, until my first marriage and then we moved to Lodi. I have always got up in the mornings and looked forward to going on line and reading the LODI NEWS SENTINAL and the STOCKTON RECORD. However, back in January when I went on line to read the Record and it said you had to start paying to read the news. I said THE HELL WITH IT!!!! I will not pay when I can read other news on line for FREE. There are other ways to make money but PLEASE do not charge us to read the Lodi News Sentinal online.Patty

  • posted at 5:12 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    SJT- coupons will only turn the LNS into another paper like the Idaho Press Tribune. A rag designed for coupon clippers. Yecchhh!TIME = MONEY! The time you waste trying to chisel a few cents off of something you don't need is also lost. I never buy price! I always buy VALUE. Don't get in the trap of being penny wise and pound foolish---

  • posted at 5:02 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    sjt- Excuse me! I was reading your post while watering my petunias, and saw the word porn? And you say you agree with me? I don't know anything about the porn industry or their marketing techniques. Please tell us more? Perhaps you have been too busy with your "research" to post more frquently?

  • posted at 3:58 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    I'm afraid I agree with edumacation (a first!). For many, checking lodinews.com is a once-in-a-while thing. To create enough interest for users to pay, there must be some compelling attraction. For porn, the motivator is obvious. What reason a newspaper? Simple interest in what's going on? Sure, but is it enough to bring regular traffic or subscriptions? Here's an idea: When a person is shopping, they'll frequently prefer local. I do. I'll go to the websites of various businesses that carry what I'm looking for. Even Yahoo offers a "Local" business search. However, it's generic and offers nothing of a truly "local" flavor. Good idea, but handicapped by the need to cover the entire country. So here's my idea: you offer free access to everything you do now. Paying customers, though, have access to a "Shop Local" section: a product/service search-engine for local businesses, links to their websites if available, little onsite pages (assembled affordably by LodiNews) if they don't, *exclusive discount certificates*, maybe special business events, things like that. "Value-added" advertising. The porn industry capitalizes on the lecherous side of us, a local paper might capitalize on the homebody/cheapskate side.

  • posted at 3:00 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Jordan - Its all about value! If you provide value for the money, people will pay. But if you do not provide value, they won't.How do you produce value? If you study other similar sized newspapers you will learn that most are nothing more than FREE PR for local politicians and the usual assortment of developers, builders, realtors, car dealers and supermarkets. You can also include local industry which in Lodi, is agriculture.One method is to have investigative reporters to change the focus of a paper from status quo and free local public relations campaigns to reality. What is REALLY going on? Several papers have done this. One notable example is the San Jose Mercury News which I subscribe to. If you want to learn about what is REALLY going on in the BAY area you will read sbpout it in the San Jose Mercury.The Chronicle lost its edge years ago and the Bay Guardian is still a mess.Will you lose GOB support and for ad revenue if you start looking for the truth? Thats the 64K question.

  • posted at 2:37 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    As a matter of fact, very few of my generation even get the paper anymore, between tv and internet, why?

  • posted at 2:35 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    There is NO point to EVER pay for ANY online news content, there are more than enough sources for free..

  • posted at 2:22 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    I won't pay for online access to the LNS. I don't subscribe. I did for many, many years but the quality deteriorated to the point that I could no longer justify the expense. Ditto the Stockton Record. If I click on a story & am stopped by a log-in box, I just move on. Under no circumstances will I ever pay to access a magazine or newspaper online. The LNS and all others earn money from the ads. If that's not enough, they're doing something wrong. They should focus on improving the quality of their news coverage . . . subscribers look for QUALITY.

  • posted at 1:56 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    I took Stockton Record off my favorites as soon as they asked for pay and will any other newspaper tht does. Funny that I actually read their adds and did shop some of them. Not no more....

  • posted at 1:41 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    I quit reading The Record online completely when they started charging, and The Record had more informative articles about Lodi than LNS. I will not pay for the Lodi News Sentinel online if they start charging. LNS does not cover enough local issues and what is written is not indepth. LNS prints too much info regarding Galt, and I don't want to read news about Galt.

  • posted at 1:22 pm on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    i know i would not pay for it. I would just read the local TV news station's websites and forget about anything in Lodi. I just look because it is free, but i would refuse to pay for this garbage of a newspaper. There columns are not worth paying for.

  • posted at 11:12 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Mrs. S. wrote on Feb 20, 2010 3:02 PM:Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I support free enterprise.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Oh, I think we all support free enterprise here, the question is whether this enterprise is viable.

  • posted at 10:10 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    The Sentinel doesn't charge for online access probably if they did many Lodians would merely stay with the paper news. They again are making money on their advertising, and frankly, not many Lodians have access to computers, and those that do have home or office delivery of the real thing. Unless they are bloggers they won't use the online services anyway. Lodi has to depend on the Galt subscribers to stay open and that is why the constant nit picking half-true articles about the happenings in Galt. Having free internet access also creates many bloggers with several different handles and those who overwhelm the blog issues for their own little far right and left name calling and I'm smarter than thou attitude. Between Mr. Kinderman, Brian and sparky it's enough to close any newspaper down with their party propaganda and egotism. Then throw in a dyan, leonard, lodidian and rantraves and it gets even worse. The same constant rantings are getting old nearly day after day. It's like watching Dukes of Hazzard reruns. The Sentinel needs to update their news during the day with bulletins like other news media do and quit ignoring the important city issues.

  • posted at 9:31 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Since The Stockton Record went to a pay system for online viewing I do not read their paper at all. That also means I do not read any advertising they have on their online version of the paper. The Lodi News Sentinel would be wise to consider this point.

  • posted at 9:27 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Should readers be charged for online content? Answer: NO!

  • posted at 9:10 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Sam: Maybe your paper is being stolen? I know that when we were getting the paper, if it wasn't porched and too close to the sidewalk/foot traffic, the paper would be stolen. You should call circulation and ask if the carrier delivered. We knew our carrier - he lived a few houses down from us and I would see him ride his bike past our house. I asked him if he delivered, it was hard not to and he did, so, we deduced our paper was being stolen. Which really stinks because we could barely afford to make our payment, let alone have someone steal what we could hardly pay for. Well, that's why we had to cancel, and it makes us feel bad. We simply had to cut out every single extra unnecessary expense from our budget. We cut out the newspaper because at least we could read the news online. We do miss getting it though, and as soon as our finances become better we will subscribe again.

  • posted at 9:02 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    I'm a News-Sentinel subscriber. I think online access should come as a package deal along with paper subscriptions. If people choose not to go the dead tree route, I don't see anything wrong with charging them for online access.Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I support free enterprise.

  • posted at 7:13 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    My last newspaper subscription was in 1996 in CO. Print news was "old news" before it even hit the driveway. So, that leaves me with online news. If Lodi and Stockton charge there is always the next guy who doesn't. The printed newspaper business is caught between a rock and a hard place. I expect it will disappear in my lifetime.

  • posted at 6:41 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    If I had to pay to read the Lodi News Paper I would remove it from my tool bar. I read the Lodi paper to keep up on what is going on in my home town now that I know longer live there. When I want to know what going on in the world I go here. http://www.drudgereport.com/ it has all the news I need this website has links to every important news paper on there page. From there page I can see what Lodi has on their front page. The great thing that the Lodi paper has is its blogs. We all may not see eye to eye but I like to know what all us Lodians are thinking about what goes on in are small home town. I also like are lively arguments with each other some time when I have a bad day what I read in the blogs on Lodi news it make’s my day. SO A NOTE TO LODI NEWS IF YOU CHARGE FOR YOUR ONLINE CONTENT YOU WILL LOSE READERS WHY PAY FOR NEW WHEN YOU CAN GET IT FOR FREE. IF YOU ARE LOSING MONEY I SUGEST YOU CHARGE MORE FOR ADVERTISING.

  • posted at 5:36 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Why buy the cow when you can get the milk free elsewhere?

  • posted at 5:12 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    roflmao... I will not pay for online content. I even wrote the Editor of the Record giving him Marty's exact business example."The print model isn't going away, and the pay wall will help supplement the paper's business, Coover said." -- Well, that is not true. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer stopped publishing last spring but still has an online version.fyi: one way around the Records "10 free articles per month" is to simply generate multiple accounts via multiple email names.Since my family does not work or shop much in Stockton we have no big reason to read the Record but I do like to read some regional & Stockton news. And they ALWAYS have a different perspective on our Lodi news.Unless the LNS plans on making MAJOR upgrades to this website (navigation, archives, & content) I highly doubt I would pay an additional free to read online. As one who travels regularly for business I enjoy reading while on the road.

  • posted at 5:06 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Gee Pressure, its hard to imagine that Lodi would be better off without a local paper.

  • posted at 5:01 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    If the Lodi News-Sentinel had any local competition at all, they would have been belly up long ago. Or if they would have had to pay their fair share of the ground contamination they were a major player in, but their own associates on city council gave them a pennies on the hundred deal and they walked away letting you Lodians pay their share of the tab. As did Mr. Katzakian's Lodi printing. The buildings still sit on that ground they dumped their illegal contaminants on and no one has made an effort to clean it up. That's one of the simple reasons the Sentinel is still in business.

  • posted at 4:50 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Observer, do you ever make any blogs that pertain to the subject? Does it make you feel like a real big boy to ridicule others to make yourself feel better? Please point out what I blogged that I should retract, master?

  • posted at 4:33 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    you start chargeing I guess I will stop reading I read a few things anyway when I lived in Lodi I didn't read the whole paper If I wanted to know about Galt I would of broght a galt paper same as stocton. I moved away from lodi I read to keep in touch with a few things thats all

  • posted at 2:46 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Seriously though, there might be a compromise to the pay for online issue. That is a pay for what you use. I don't care about local sports (most of the time) nor many other sections but there are others that I like to read daily. There may be many people out there who wouldn't pay for an on-line subscription because they don't read most of the paper, but they may stick around in a modest way if they could just buy the sections they read. A discount would be there for ordering the paper as a whole but money could be saved by many if they just ordered the sections they wanted. An option of purchasing any section for a day would also be there.Another option is a pay as you go method where you only pay if you read for the day. Some combo of the two may even work.

  • posted at 2:44 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Sam, ask your Sentinel carrier how much they make monthly? You'll surely want to be asking questions of the wage practices of the Sentinel. Why doesn't the Sentinel have any ethnic minority reporters with a large Hispanic and Pakistani population to keep Lodians informed about what is happening on the east side of Lodi with those communities? The Record has Jennifer Rodriquez and some very informative articles on what is going on in those minority communities. It is like the Sentinel doesn't want newer residents to even know the eastside is mostly low income and many below the poverty level. And not to count the fact that Lodi is about 54% minority. It certainly doesn't reflect that fact when looking at the hiring practices in every business entity in Lodi. And T$C, if you would subscribe to the Record, you'd get your online services free. The Sentinel has its same old group of propagandists from the left and right that have driven many other bloggers away and if the Sentinel continues to let thet continue, they'll be sinking sooner than they think.

  • posted at 2:38 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Maybe the LNS could kill two birds with one stone. The two birds are financial troubles and posters getting into juvenile partisan bickering. The stone would be to charge 10 cents per post;) How about 5 cents?Just joking there.

  • posted at 2:35 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Excellent presentation of all sides of this issue, Jordan!Considering I moved from a large garbage can to a small one to save $5 a month in collection fees, I would have a very hard time justifying paying anything for on-line content other than what is absolutely crucial to my business. I'm finding that I've been slowly creating my own daily reading through a bloglines subscription to my favorite blogs, which tend to be very timely.I think free access to a public paper is a very important unifying service to the community. When a wall goes up, members of the community head their separate ways, focusing more on their specific interests.

  • posted at 2:31 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Who would pay for the Sentinel online and only get the Galt gossip from San Joaquin county? If the Sentinel charged for reading their paper online, they'd have no bloggers and be broke. The one reason why the Sentinel is hanging on now, IMO, they have little low paid children delivering and have a steady commercial clientele who own those businesses that advertise every day and are associated with the social circle that dominate Lodi. That's why there isn't, or ever has been, any adverse articles printed concerning " the dark side" and their accused corruption all these years. One mistake and the ad revenues are gone, hence the hush hush from the owner and his offspring who are well connected to the good old boys themselves.

  • posted at 2:15 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    You hit a number of nails on the head. I have never been opposed to some type of pay model for reading online content. I feel that giving it away has hurt the news industry, but the trick is in finding that sweet spot that people are willing to pay.I was interested when I heard that the Record was moving to a pay wall model, but was disappointed when I learned how their model is pretty much tied into their print subscription. I just don't think this is the future of news. Look at the Amazon Kindle and the forthcoming Apple iPad as examples.If I choose an electronic version of the newspaper, this saves the publisher the costs of printing and distribution, and that should be reflected in the price that I pay. The site itself should also add value. Look to the SF Chronicle site as an example; well laid out, good archive and fast.The Record has come across as the bad guy in this instance. Their "take it or leave it" stance will ultimately hurt them, I believe. You want to attract more customers; not chase them away.

  • posted at 2:04 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Until everyone goes to a pay model it will not work.If the LNS went pay, people would just stop reading it online.Comments are good but in the end they just end up being partisan bickering - Right Leonard? - there is a reason people associate with those that think like they do and the internet is for the first time allow quick easy interaction between those that see the world in a different light. So far, instead of bringing people together it is just driving them further apart.Record...who cares...after they did the pro-illegal alien expose they were pretty much done. Does anyone read that publication anymore?

  • posted at 2:00 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Journey said it best! Not only that; but there is not that much content online as compared to the print copy.

  • posted at 1:54 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    I read online newspapers all over the world and when the Record began charging for access, I simply deleted them from my list. There is nothing in the Record that you can't read elsewhere -- for free. If the Sentinel begins charging, I'll delete that one, too.

  • posted at 1:52 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    That is why I nolonger read The Record online. LNS would be making a big mistake to charge for on-line reading of its paper! But you go ahead and do what you have to do.

  • posted at 1:22 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    Another day with NO LODI NEWS SENTINEL. The Record is here, but no LNS AGAIN. Maybe if they actually delivered the paper to the people who have paid in advanced to have it delivered they would be a bit better off finanacially.Happy customers = successful business.

  • posted at 12:24 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    What's up with the missing line breaks? You can't even code them in with HTML.

  • posted at 12:22 am on Sat, Feb 20, 2010.


    I wouldn't pay a dime for access to the Record. The Record was never a great paper but its decline in recent years has been phenomenal. I picked up a copy when I was in town in January and the whole thing was probably only about ten pages and three quarters of that was content from the wires.The LNS is undoubtedly a much finer paper. That said, I am primarily here for the comments and, in my experience, the comments are the first casualty of a pay for content system.If, somehow, the LNS could charge for content without killing the comments, I would actually probably pay some small amount for access. Sadly, I just don't think that is likely.



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