February 3, 2013
The Dalles Chronicle's online edition is a work in progress. Work began on the site in the spring of 2012, but went "live" prior to full setup do to instability in the hosting of the old site. Please report bugs as a comment on this blog, or via email to email@example.com. Other comments or suggestions are also welcome.
We are currently working to add staff contacts and a menu link to the NewsBank archive. At this time the NewsBank archive link can be found in a story located in Gorge Life/History.
One of the features we had planned to implement prior to launch was a paywall, subscription-based access to local content. Anyone would be able to sign up to the site, and "click through" a limited number of "premium" stories. The user would then be asked to subscribe prior to reading a fourth.
"Premium" stories are primarily those stories produced locally by reporters at the Chronicle. Events, media, blogs, public notices and classifieds would remain free, as would letters to the editor and obituaries. We are still working out the details of free versus paid.
Why a paywall? Years ago I worked for Mark Dickson, then-publisher of the Headlight-Herald in Tillamook Oregon. He believed that the newsroom budget should be covered by the subscriber. If a story is worth reading, if the local news is important enough to gather, then the reader has a responsibility to help fund that endeavor.
In the past, premium online content at the Chronicle has been limited to one or two stories a day, yet even this modest offering of free content resulted in a measurable decline in print when the website first went online.
Funding the newsroom has been a growing challenge throughout the publishing industries. Online subscriptions, we hope, will be a part of the funding solution going into the future.