New “asy access (sic)” in The Union (AKA, a paywall) stirs debate

“asy access (sic)” — “read this story on (paid) The Union’s e-edition” is how our local newspaper promotes more of its stories nowadays — in this case one about the Penn Valley Chamber this morning.

I suspect The Union meant “Easy access,” with a big typo. But it raises ongoing issues about online “paywalls,” the newspaper industry’s latest attempt to recoup lost revenue. Will people pay for content, complete with typos, in their community newspaper?

•”There must be a good reason for not printing the page here where computer illiterates don’t have to try to figure out how to access the story,” wrote “Murie” under the paywall content for a story titled “Nevada City Chamber heads in new direction.”

•”Paywalls don’t work. Ad eyeballs pay,” wrote “NC Guy.”

•”Sounds more like The Union is heading in a new direction . . . good luck with that!”

An article “Online news sites charge users to stay afloat” is here. More background — including a discussion of the New York Times’ paywall — is here.

“While a revenue jolt like that is sure to grab the attention of any publisher, most newspapers in the rest of country lack the substantial body of compelling, exclusive content and the unparalleled concentration of wealthy readers that are enjoyed by the Times,” writes Alan Mutter, now a chief executive in Silicon Valley who used to be my colleague at The Chronicle for many years.

In The Union this morning there’s also a republished press release “Music in the Mountains announces anniversary season.” This story is free. It’s played prominently in print.

But I published this identical press release on my blog and Facebook page on March 23 — the same day it was issued.

The internet is changing the way we communicate, and more and more readers are wising up to all the new choices that are available — even in our small town. “Blogging reshapes the media landscape” is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

3 thoughts on “New “asy access (sic)” in The Union (AKA, a paywall) stirs debate”

  1. Update: At least the “asy access” reference has been removed from the Penn Valley story. Kudos for that!

  2. Oh, let’s see if I’ve got this straight here…The Union, catering primarily to uninformed, stupid bigots, now wants these same “computer whizzes” to PAY to be uninformed stupid bigots? Is that to protect the rest of America from their buffoonery? So they can wear their tinfoil and tricorner hats together or what? Well, gee whiz, The Union IT needs to go back to computin class…this is, pardon the pun, uh…rich…Kate

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