I’d written before about The San Francisco Chronicle “gating off” some print content from online readers to generate more subscriptions. Some stories marked with a “C” logo initially can be found only in the print and paid-e-editions. Then they are offered online for free two days later.
Well, The Union — our small town newspaper — has jumped on this bandwagon with a two-part package on marijuana (“how it affects us”) starting today. “This print-first package will be posted online in its entirety on Monday,” the paper states, so print and paid e-edition readers get a three-day jump on the rest of the community.
The flip side is that this raises the bar for newsrooms to provide compelling enough content that you just can’t wait to read for three days, so you go buy a copy or start subscribing.
Will it work? No, not unless you can come up with “holy s***” content — an old expression from the Woodward and Bernstein days. And not just once but time and time again.
Plus, around here, you can find print versions floating around without going to the news rack — in coffee shops, auto-repair shops and the like. Word travels fast in a small town.
It’s hard to offer something for free and then take it back.
As for this marijuana series, it is pegged to Prop. 19, so it should have been published weeks ago, around the same time that ballots went out, which was on Oct. 5. We are a vote by mail county, and many people have voted already.
I’d link to it, but I can’t — until Monday.
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