Spokesman to charge for online news content
City reporter Corey Buchanan was the only media source to attend a town hall regarding controversial changes at the Aurora Airport and has likewise been the only local journalist to follow the story of proposed rule changes for water recreation on the Willamette in Wilsonville.
Education reporter Holly Bartholmew provided parents with a deep dive into proposed changes to the health and sex education curriculum, and Tanner Russ writes stories about a wealth of Wilsonville sporting events, from girls rugby to bowling to boys basketball.
These examples are a snapshot of what the Spokesman's news staff does every week to cover Wilsonville.
Typically we are the only news media attending city council meetings, school board meetings and high school events and thus the stories we share you won't be able to read anywhere else. Collectively, our news team devotes 100 plus hours every week to produce just the news content for one issue of the Spokesman.
Behind the scenes we also have another group of people working hard to produce the paper. Jesse Marichalar and Rick Fryback all work with local businesses to create advertising programs to run through the Spokesman's print, digital and social media platforms.
A designer places the news story on our pages. Another designer creates the ads that we sell. Another person uploads our pages to the press where our pressmen print our papers. Drivers deliver the papers to the post office and to 30 newsstands throughout Wilsonville.
All this work to be the best source of local news for Wilsonville comes at price.
Nothing comes for free.
Since the Spokesman launched its website in the 2000s, we have always provided our online visitors a free pass to our content, while charging a subscription fee to our customers who receive the printed newspaper.
Back then, we felt our responsibility was to deliver the news in whatever formats that we had. But today, without getting some compensation for our hard work, we can no longer just give our news away.
Times are changing. The number of people who are accessing our online news content is on the rise, even though the number of print subscribers is flat. It's a reality of our industry that we can't ignore.
In order to maintain and hopefully grow our news coverage in both print and online, we've arrived at the decision to charge a subscription fee for access to news content on our website — just like we do for our print subscribers.
What's that going to look like?
QUESTION: If I already subscribe to the print edition will I have free access to the website?
ANSWER: Yes. Unrestricted.
QUESTION: How much will it cost for a single year — print or digital — subscription to the Wilsonville Spokesman?
ANSWER: $36 per year in print/digital; $26 per year for digital only; $1 for an online day pass.
QUESTION: Can I buy a single story?
ANSWER: We are going with what's called a "monthly metered paywall," where web visitors will be able to read three stories a month at no cost; though you will be asked to provide an email address. Non-subscribers will encounter the paywall after the third free story each month.
QUESTION: Will some of the content remain available outside of the paywall?
ANSWER: The paywall will never prohibit access to digital advertising, classified ads, obituaries and Insiders.
QUESTION: What about big news stories? Will I have access to those?
ANSWER: Yes. Our newsroom editor will have discretion to post "breaking news" outside the paywall. So in the event of an impending eruption of Mount Hood, we won't charge you to read the words "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE."
QUESTION: Is this specific to the Wilsonville Spokesman?
ANSWER: Yes and no. The Portland Tribune, which is part of the Pamplin Media Group, is a free publication, so it won't move behind a paywall. But all other Pamplin publications that charge subscription fees are transitioning to this model.
QUESTION: When is this happening?
ANSWER: The switch flips on Monday, Jan. 28.
Our commitment is stronger than ever
For 34 years, the Spokesman has reported on the news of Wilsonville, and that's not changing anytime soon. We will cover city councils, school boards, sports, classrooms, crime, entertainment, health and every other imaginable topic for as long as people are interested in knowing what's going on in their community.
As the only consistent and dedicated source for local news about Wilsonville, we are the only media working to educate, encourage and clearly explain "the why" something is happening. If we do our jobs, we can help local citizens understand how they can work together to create outcomes for the good of all.
But we can only continue to do this with your financial support.
Many people reading this are already subscribers to our products and understand the value we provide. Unfortunately some in the community don't appreciate or understand the important service the Spokesman provides every day and every week.
Now, more than ever, if you believe in the value of an independent press, then we need your support. This includes your family, friends and neighbors as well.
As our subscribers, this change doesn't directly affect you but you do play a very important role for us — you are our best advocates. Please encourage your family and friends to subscribe to our news products or to advertise with us. When they do, you help create an informed and educated community — a stronger Wilsonvillle.
Thank you for your understanding as we make this transition.