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Time to Pay Up for Your Local News—If You're Reading the Courier-Post, That Is

In addition to the new paywall, the Courier-Post also has a new interim publisher. Will either change have an impact on your reading habits?

If you're one of the folks who reads "South Jersey's newspaper"—the Courier-Post—online, perhaps you noticed a little something recently: A note at the bottom left of each article you click on counting down how many free articles you have left.

The countdown isn't unusual—virtually every one of Gannett's 80-some U.S. properties instituted a similar paywall this year. What is unusual is that the Courier-Post is among a minuscule minority that apparently chose not to notify its readers of this change online.

The announcements—complete with Gannett doublespeak referring to a "new subscription model" instead of a paywall and generally lacking any reference to an increase in prices—have been an ongoing subject of mockery at the Gannett Blog.

Even more interesting: While there is no notice from the Courier-Post on its own site about its plan to start charging readers to view articles online in addition to increasing the cost of the print product, you can read a notice on the C-P site from sister-newspaper the Vineland Daily Journal telling its Burlington, Camden and Gloucester county readers about its plans to "transition to a new subscription model."

The announcement explains that "if you’re not a subscriber, our news and information won’t be available for free on an unlimited basis like it is now," before—on page two—making it clear that all prices are rising for online, print and any combination of the two.

If you are interested in paying for the local news from the Courier, here are the price points to begin your efforts. 

New publisher

The paywall isn't the only change at the Courier-Post in recent weeks. In late October, General Manager Gene Williams retired and was replaced on an interim basis by Ellen Liefield, a former editor at Gannett's Nashville, TN, site.

The newspaper's five-paragraph welcome of the individual tasked with overseeing all aspects of coverage throughout a region with more than 1 million residents has been the only official mention of her presence. Her name does not appear on the online listings for the newspaper's editorial board

If her email address or direct phone number are listed anywhere on the site, it is not readily apparent.

I have reached out to Courier-Post Managing Editor Leon Tucker to learn whether an article will be posted online regarding price hikes and whether Liefield's phone and email will be made public to allow South Jerseyans to contact her with questions and concerns. 

I will update this post if he responds.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Medero's Blog November 20, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Not surprise by the move since the Gannett started doing this with their other New Papers in New Jersey earlier in the year
Paul J. DiBartolo November 21, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Yea, we get it. I only go to C-P Online when directed there by some other site but I noticed the C-P online web-page is full of ads; now they want me to pay for articles? I wonder who the geniuses at C-P were who did the research on this. Good luck.
William Tracy November 22, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Well, I waited two days, and Mr. Tucker has not responded. I'm not surprised. When I found an email address that worked on the site, no one ever responds. I talked with one of their reporters recently -- asked about an email I sent him that he never bothered to respond to. "Oh, yeah, I remember seeing that email," he said. Sadly, in my experience, the CP site is the poorest quality media site I've ever seen. I'm glad the Philadelphia papers provide decent coverage of anything I'm interested in here.
Our Town November 26, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Instead of figuring out a new business model to take advantage of the changing trends in news and media, these companies continue to lean on their dedicated customers more and more. Good luck, but fewer and fewer "subscribers" will remain willing to fund the stone age delivery of news. Bye bye Courier Post.

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