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“Newspapers cannot be defined by the second word — paper. They’ve got to be defined by the first word — news.”
— Arthur Sulzberg Jr.
The printed word is the primary medium in which we journalists pass along news of Sequim and surrounding areas, even as new technologies tend to chip away at that reality. Newspaper veterans and newcomers with fanciful ideas of the “old days” like to recall how newspapers have survived radio in the 1920s, then television in the 1940s and 1950s, then the Internet in the 1990s. The newspaper has been a tough medium to kill.
Enough of the qualifiers, you say. What’s the deal with this column? you say. I already bought the paper, so what news have you for me?
We are making substantive changes to the Sequim Gazette website, and for many of you — particularly those who like the printed page in your hands — there is little change at all.
On April 1 those who peruse our website, however, will notice a change. Our website is getting a makeover, aligning with other newspapers in the Sound Publishing galaxy. We hope you enjoy the new look and continue to enjoy the features.
We aim to make our accessibility more intuitive than ever, so you can easily find the stories you’re looking for. One of the features we’re excited about is the ability for readers to submit their items for the community calendar online.
A more significant change for others, however, will be the April 2 addition of “digital subscriptions.” What this means is that those using our website will, after viewing several articles online, be asked to (if they are already a print subscriber) enter their information and then continue using the website. Those who have not yet bought a subscription will be given several options of how to subscribe.
Understandably, some users of our website will be frustrated and want to continue to use the site for free. But we believe we produce a product that is worth paying for and that our news, sports and lifestyle coverage, presentation of community photos and local advertising is valuable to our readers.
Our subscribers have shown great loyalty to our product and we’re inviting those who haven’t yet to join those subscribers.
For the past several years, our print subscribers have paid to support the news gathering that shows up on our website. Oftentimes our digital users would get more stories, more photography and more updates that the print customers receive. We hope this change to our subscription structure will make it fair for all Gazette readers.
Print subscribers will have full access to the site and we’ll add more features and content online as time and technology allows.
This is not a move made in a vacuum: Newspapers across the state, the region and the nation are using the “digital subscription” model in one version or another. Nationally, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Dallas Morning News among others have used “digital subscriptions” while regionally the Seattle Times, the Kitsap Sun and the Everett Herald, a Sound publication, have followed suit.
Our sister paper, the Peninsula Daily News, will establish a similar “digital subscription” service on March 31.
I’m sure many of you will have questions. Fire away and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Thanks for reading.
Reach Sequim Gazette editor Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.