The News is reinstating our paid gateway on our website.
After the Great Flood of 2016, The News took down the paywall to make sure that the coverage of the post-flood world was able to reach our readers. The effect was very humbling, as our reach grew, and the community came to expect our reporting.
Nothing better than a little pressure.
Some may remember our first attempt at a paid gateway. It was announced in March 2014 and released on April 1. Yes, many readers believed it was an April Fools joke, so the irate calls to the office on April 2 have become quite the fun story to tell, now, but weren’t so much then.
The News learned quite a bit from that first attempt. At first, the paywall was “hard,” in that anyone who tried to read the content was forced to pay. Our new gateway will be metered, allowing our readers two free views per month.
Some might ask, “Why not more?” Larger media outlets and magazines usually offer up to five, it’s true, but with the hyper-localism of our content it would be easy for a lot of readers to “sneak by” on five free views a month, never having to subscribe. So, if a former resident out of town wants to check in on a story or two, they can, and if a local reader is just interested in a read here or there, that’s fine too.
And that leads to another point – most large-scale media outlets have begun moving to the gateway style, while many smaller newspapers had to adopt gateways around that 2014 mark – our execution was just a bit … off.
That’s why not only will the gateway be metered, but we’ll be offering a “digital only” subscription, which will give full access to the website. Not everything will be behind the paywall, either – any breaking news that’s important to our community will remain free. Also, the Classifieds and Marketplace will stay on the front side of the paywall.
And, of course – opinion. Need we say more?
This move is to help protect our journalists who cover this parish, you, and your kids as you go about making Livingston Parish a better place. The News wants to provide an environment where our staff can provide the best product possible for our readers, and this is the next step toward that goal.
We aren’t stopping there, either.
Also beginning in March, The News will move to a “magazine style” print product. The enhancement will make the paper more durable, portable, easier to read, and provide an overall more vibrant experience. We’re investing in the look of the paper so that it matches the growth, improvement, and expansion of the parish.
The News has watched other media outlets, online retailers, and entertainment providers go paid online for a nominal fee. The time for us to make the move has come and, while we know that the move will be decidedly unpopular to some (or many, the jury is still deliberating on that one), we’ve done our best to allay those fears by expanding coverage and not only offering a digital-only subscription option, but making sure that the process to subscribe is easy, intuitive, and instant.
It’s a humbling and honorable experience to cover Livingston Parish as the Official Journal, and The News will continue to do so as long as we are able.
As always, we welcome your feedback, either via our anonymous feedback form online, via Facebook messenger, by calling our office at (225) 665-5176 (ask for Drew Walker), or e-mailing Drew directly at email@example.com.