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The website is set up so that a published story is free for the first 24 hours it is posted

Woodburnindependent.com has thousands of online users and, combined with our print readership, they read almost a million pages of local news and information last year. We are proud that our social media pages and website have been a hub for local news and a great companion for the newspaper that we have so proudly published for nearly 130 years.

However, we view the work that we put into the newspaper as a valuable service to the community. Some see the value in that service, so much so that they pay for delivery of the newspaper to their homes every week. We hope that our online readers will also see the value of the work we put into our stories. That's why, beginning this week, we've implemented an online subscription-based design.

Woodburn Independent websiteThe website is set up so that a published story is free for the first 24 hours it is posted. These, as well as other breaking alert stories (i.e. a boil water notice that is in effect for longer than that period of time) will still be free to online readers. Advertisements, classifieds and obituaries will also remain accessible to all.

For those who wish to access anything on the website that is more than one day old, they will be asked to sign up either for a $1 day pass, a one-year online-only subscription of $22 or a print and online combo yearly subscription of $32.

Please realize, we know that people aren't fond of having to pay for something that has historically been made available for free. But this might not affect you as severely as you think. If you have a print subscription, all you need to do is sign up with your subscription information on the website and you can access the website for free. An online reader who only visits the website once a week or to catch breaking news should still have reasonable access to the website. Heavy unpaid users will hit the subscription prompt, and rightly so, as that reader must think there is significant value in that content.

We put a lot of effort and time into providing you the news, and we would like to think that our work has a monetary value to it. Additionally, as journalism has increasingly shifted to an online format over the past two decades, more and more news reaches our online readers first, while our paid print subscribers must wait for upwards of a week to read what others have already received for free.

We understand that the change will be jarring and poorly received by those who are used to receiving the news for free, but for the vast majority of journalism's history, a newspaper was rarely considered a free product. With the Internet's rise in the '90s, publication companies scrambled to take advantage of the new opportunity to reach a much larger readership, with little concept of how to monetize the fledgling medium.

As the Internet became the primary source of spreading information over the past decade, newspapers across the country struggled to stay solvent as a generation grew to expect for free what was once a valued commodity. Many publications are now returning to a paid service, and we have decided that the best way to continue offering high-quality news for decades to come is to do so as well.

For those who don't use our website, this change means absolutely nothing. Your newspaper delivery will not be interrupted, and you don't have to do a thing. But we sincerely hope all this hubbub about online subscriptions will make you curious enough to log on and see what you've been missing.

It's a simple process. Just visit the website and either click the "log in" button on the bottom of the page or within an article when prompted. You will be asked to set up an account that includes an email and password. For paid subscribers, you will be prompted to also provide your first and last name, and possibly a phone number, in order to link your subscription account. The service we use is called Wallit, which, because it is an account-based software, can also allow you to access other websites. If you're having trouble, call our office and we'll help guide you through the process. Once you become a member, you will have full access to all areas of the website.

A note to our advertisers: All of your online advertising has been placed so that it will continue to be visible, but it isn't just about numbers. Now our advertisers can be assured that their online messages are being seen by qualified, local buyers who live, work and shop here in our community.

When you register to use our website, you become a member of our online community. Membership, by definition, implies that you are part of something special. We believe that woodburnindependent.com is something special, because it allows us to connect with you in a more timely and personal way than we can in print.

We appreciate that our readers have stood by us all of these 130 years, and we strive to do our best to report balanced and credible news every day. It is a privilege to serve you.

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