The Asheville Citizen-Times pay wall, announced for July 1, actually went up on Monday. On Tuesday, readers noticed a pop-up warning them that they would be charged after a “complimentary” period. Readers who clicked through were presented a window to start a digital-only subscription at $10 a month or a digital-and-print subscription for $15 a month. Current subscribers were prompted to create an account on the new site.
Last weekend, snail mail letters went out to subscribers of the print product. For example, subscribers of the Friday-Saturday-Sunday newspaper were notified that the newspaper would start charging for its digital content and told their new subscription price was $17 a month, or $15 a month if they supplied a credit card number to be automatically charged each month. The price for the three-day print product had been $13 and some change.
In a print brochure being distributed around town, the Citizen-Times is touting three main areas of focus as selling points: the newspaper’s watchdog journalism; a new weekend product focusing on Asheville as a “culinary and cultural destination”; and the newspaper’s new Ideas section (the former business section), which focuses on small businesses and entrepreneurs in the area.
Users of the Citizen-Times website get 10 free clicks a month. It’s my understanding that users who click on a CT staffer’s blog won’t have that click count against the 10 free. It’s also my understanding that any user who clicks a link provided via social media, such as Twitter or FB, won’t have that count against their 10 free – but that’s not confirmed.
Users have already been discussing work-arounds – one pay wall work-around recently posted on Reddit Asheville.
This coming weekend, the Citizen-Times plans to unveil its smart phone application for Android and iPhone, as well as a tablet application.
I would think it was less a question of “journalistic ethics” and more a question of “what will my employers think.” I know IP and real property and different, but my employers would probably be quite annoyed with me if I advised customers on how to obtain our products without paying.
That said, I think it’s an extremely lame move by the AC-T to kick the paywall into place a full week early, before they have their Apps avaialable, etc. The head of the organization announced a start date of July 1st, and even then I was sort of surprised at how quickly the change would be in effect. The extra-early start just re-inforces their image of unreliability, makes Hammer seem kind of untrustworthy, and annoys potential customers.
Although with the digital price only $5 less per month than the “digital plus print” price, I’m not sure how many new subscribers they’ll be picking up . . .
What’s the ethics of Ashvegas, as a Citizen-Times employee, pointing readers to a work-around to avoid paying for the Citizen-Times?
Jason can share his own answer, but journalists don’t hide information, they share it. It’s their job. It’s a fact that information like this, on how to bypass the paywall, will circulate. Ignoring or hiding that fact, or any other newsworthy information relevant to the topic, is not what journalists do. Jason’s ethics are journalistic ethics.
If a person has an ethical issue in bypassing the paywall rather than paying, it’s their decision to make.
Is the content that is paid for come up advertising-free?
Zen … advertising is still showing.
If one is a Mac user, turn on “Private Browsing” and there is no pay wall!
Good for them. Nice to actually be able to pay journalists.