Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Unveils Website Upgrade, But Will Not Implement Metered Pay Wall

On December 27th, 2012, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner implemented an upgraded website which appears to be seamless at the moment. However, unlike the Anchorage Daily News, this is not a precursor to the implementation of a metered pay wall. In September 2009, other sources reported that the News-Miner was flirting with the idea of a flexible pay wall, but it never materialized. At one time, the News-Miner was part of Media News Group, but this appears to be no longer the case.

Managing Editor Rod Boyce doesn't view the News-Miner merely as a profit-making venture, but also considers community responsibility. “Our Interior Alaska readers can be assured that we will inform them of the basics of important breaking news without charge, That is a responsibility we have to the community,” explained Boyle. But although readers will still have free access to a majority of the locally-produced content as well as that from around Alaska, the nation, and world, some content will be available only in the print edition and the e-edition in order to preserve the value of those separate resources. A separate smartphone app is in the works. The News-Miner’s e-edition can be purchased as a single edition or at a weekly rate of $2; the e-edition rate for print subscribers is less.

A separate FAQ article provides updates of interest to those who have or want to establish accounts. Existing accounts have been migrated to the updated website, but users will have to reset passwords for security reasons. Readers can also log in to the site to post comments to stories from either Facebook or OpenID through their Google or Yahoo accounts. Already one commenter is criticizing the News-Miner for requiring print subscribers to also pay for the e-edition.

The difficulty will be in convincing the public to pay for a product or service that has been offered for free for a prolonged period. Unfortunately, the newspaper industry needs to take these type of measures to ensure its survival, even in a truncated form. At least the News-Miner will continue to provide unlimited free access to all of its basic stories.

Other Alaskan newspapers known to use pay walls as of December 27th:

-- Anchorage Daily News: Metered pay wall; 15 free reads in 30 days.
-- Mat-Su Frontiersman: Metered pay wall; 5 free reads in 30 days.
-- Kodiak Daily Mirror: Access for paid subscribers only.
-- Ketchikan Daily News: Access for paid subscribers only.

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