If you are a subscriber, you will continue to receive your weekly newspaper in your mailbox each Wednesday, like you always have,

Starting next week, this newspaper will be making significant changes in the way we deliver your news digitally.

You may have already noticed how newspapers including The New York Times and The Washington Post — or more locally, the Statesman-Journal in Salem, the East Oregonian in Pendleton and the Daily Astorian — ask online readers to support their quality journalism through online subscriptions. Newspapers across the country are turning to digital memberships to help bridge the gap between our society's insatiable appetite for information and the increasing cost of doing business.

Starting Monday, readers of the Spokesman's website will have the opportunity to purchase a digital subscription. Readers without subscriptions will be allowed to view up to three stories free each month. If you already subscribe to our printed newspaper, your digital subscription is included at no extra charge.

Why are we doing this?

Over the last two decades, the newspaper industry has been turned upside down by dwindling advertising revenue, an aging readership base, and the disruption created by social media and other digital technologies. Last year, our editorial board shared how trade tariffs had raised the price of newsprint imported from Canada by 30 percent, creating yet another hardship for us and newspapers across the country that rely on Canadian paper products to print their newspapers.

Frankly, it's a tough time to be in the newspaper business. Good journalism comes at a price. The Spokesman is a business just like any other, with employees who expect to make a living wage.

At the same time, it's a great time to be a journalist. That same digital technology has made it easier than ever to share good journalism and interact with our readers in ways that make a difference in their daily lives. Almost 3,500 readers visit every day, and they read almost 160,000 pages of news and information on our websites each month. If only 5 percent of these visitors paid for our hard work, we could afford to hire more reporters who then generate even more news about our community.

I'm guessing that you are reading this newspaper because you care about the stories on these pages and rely on our coverage of local news and information to navigate your busy life.

In an age where anyone with a smartphone can post a picture to Instagram and declare themself a "citizen journalist," credible coverage of local news still matters, and trained journalists still serve an important role in the community, perhaps now more than ever.

We are asking our readers to help us stay strong in our mission to serve the community by subscribing to our websites.

If you use our websites or follow our Facebook and Twitter pages, you will begin to see changes starting next week.

On Monday, Jan. 28, readers will have the opportunity to join our online community by registering when they visit

If you are an already a subscriber to our newspaper, you'll be asked to answer a few questions about your existing account in order to activate your new online service. Information about your account can be found on the mailing label on the front page of this newspaper. If you have any questions or encounter difficulty activating your online service, please call our circulation department at 503-620-9797. They will be happy to help you.

If you are not a subscriber, you'll still be able to read up to three stories each month without charge. But you'll be asked to pay a modest subscription fee if you are a frequent reader, starting as low as $1.

Members of our online community will have full access to all areas of the website, our archives and our new digital edition of the newspaper.

Some stories — as well as our classifieds, death notices and breaking news that impacts the health and safety of our communities — will continue to be free.

If you do not subscribe, you will still have access to the site. You'll be able to read more stories when the meter resets the following month. A ribbon at the bottom of your screen will help you keep track of how many stories you've read each month.

One-day all-access passes will be available for just $1, and a year-long digital subscription will be available for as little as $36, or a whopping .69 cents per week — far less then what you pay for a cup of coffee or a candy bar. Or you can subscribe to our print newspaper as well and have it delivered to your mailbox each week along with unlimited access to

If you don't use our websites, these changes won't affect you at all; if you are a subscriber, you will continue to receive your weekly newspaper in your mailbox each Wednesday, like you always have, and if you don't subscribe, you will still be able to find your paper on newsstands and inside grocery stores throughout Wilsonville. But we hope you'll be curious enough to check out our websites and see what all the hoopla is about.

Thank you for bringing us into your homes and your lives for the past 35 years that the Spokesman has been serving Wilsonville and Clackamas County. It's because of you that we strive to report the news in a fair, honest and credible fashion every day. It is our privilege to serve you.

J. Brian Monihan is publisher of the Wilsonville Spokesman, Charbonneau Villager, West Linn Tidings, Lake Oswego Review, three monthly newspapers and vice president of the Pamplin Media Group. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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