You must want to read it

Becky Vargo

Earlier this week, the Grand Haven Tribune contained a wonderful story about a local man’s (and his family’s) journey to the creation of a family restaurant in honor of his daughter who died of adrenal failure.

Lots of people would like to read this story. But, based on comments we see on Facebook, it’s not worth paying a subscription fee to get the story.

Instead, someone, who had access to the story, copied and pasted it into the comments so people could read it.

I guess that’s like the days of buying a print version of the newspaper and then passing it along to your neighbor when you are done reading it.

Unfortunately, you are not passing it one to just one person.

Yes, we want everyone to read the story. But, if you want more stories like this, we have to be able to have enough reporters to do the stories, and that requires a certain amount of income.

That income comes from you, the subscribers, and from our advertisers.

There are a lot of costs involved in running a news organization. There’s the overhead of maintaining the building we use. There are utility costs, salaries and production costs.

You would not give away products you sell in your store or services you provide in the community, at least not to the entire community. If you did, you would fast be out of business and unable to pay your own bills.

Yes, I know you’ve always been able to read the stories online for free. We’ve always known that couldn’t happen forever.

And now that the Tribune is under new ownership, we are transitioning our services to be in line with other newspapers in the company. And one of those items is to require payment for our digital product. You still get some stories for free.

Yes, it is $9.99 per month to have access to the online stories. But that also gives you access to our e-edition, which is the PDF version of the print copy of the newspaper. That means you also get all of the advertising and special sections. You just have to take the steps to create an account. Print subscriptions already include access to the e-edition and the website.

So, you might have to drink one less specialty coffee or have one less meal at a fast-food restaurant to make up the difference.

Do you teach your children that all things in life should be free? Or do you teach them to work hard to make a difference in the world?

We are working hard with the staff that we have. We try to provide you with a product that you want to read.

And, obviously, you want to read at least some of it, or you wouldn’t be so angry that you can’t have it for free.

Yes, you will find the occasional big local story on other media websites for free. But you’ll miss out on the feature story about your neighbors opening a new restaurant in honor of their daughter.

Like you, I’ve been used to getting news from other outlets for free. These outlets will continue to disappear as their income sources dwindle.

So, support your local newspaper and support the advertisers who buy space in the print version or online.

I, for one, enjoy working in this community. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to keep a job in journalism for so many years. Many of my friends lost their jobs long ago.

(3) comments


The online content isn't worth the price.


I love getting the paper! My issue is that the price increase was so drastic. For me it was almost 400%. Perhaps a gradual increase would have been better or a monthly payment. I signed up for a 13 week subscription yesterday and wasn’t told about access to the online edition. How do I get that?


Setting up my subscription now!

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