The announcement today that most online content provided by The Wilson Times at its Web site, wilsontimes.com, would be available through subscription only is sure to be met with discontent.
Naturally, people used to getting something for free aren't happy when all of a sudden they have to pay for it. But therein lies the problem. Newspapers began giving away content online several years ago under the notion that, in time, increased Web readership would drive up online advertising revenue and subsidize digital content the same way it does in print.
But folks, it ain't working. Internet advertising brings in a fraction that print does and the online readership, which has grown, undermines print advertising because people are reading the news on the Web site and not in print. In short, newspapers are basically giving away their core product and I don't know of many businesses that can do that and sustain themselves.
The next option is no newspaper, in print or online. No local news, no obituaries, no wedding announcements, no high school football reports, no district court results, no comics, no classified ads, no nothing. I believe that newspapers are not going to fade away because I think people still want the news in their community and you won't find news about Wilson anywhere but The Wilson Times. And I might be biased, but $10 a month for a paper in your driveway and full Web access is a pretty good deal.
Hopefully, this decision, like many painful ones in recent months, will help ensure the survival of this newspaper so Wilsonians and those in the surrounding communities won't lose their source for local news.
Because this space, along with other blogs at wilsontimes.com and other online features will continue to be free, I want to step up my game, so to speak, and provide more content. Look for daily entries that might not always be just about local sports. Also look for score updates, which I will provide as best I can.
Hopefully, readers of this blog will become more involved with comments and discussions on the local sports scene because here, you still don't have to pay to play!