Journalism Matters

Journalism has taken some serious hits in the past few weeks. First, the Catholic School teens in Washington DC wearing the “MAGA” hats and all of the misreporting. Second, the massive layoff of journalists by our country’s largest newspaper owner, Gannet.

There is a war on local journalism, right when we need it most.

The new term is “news desert.” And it means exactly what it sounds like. More than 900 community newspapers have shut their doors since 2009. Small communities all over the United States are in a news desert.

Let’s think about that for a minute. Even if you are not a weekly reader of the San Pedro Valley News Sun, where would you go to get meeting dates? Where would you read about city council or county commissioners? Who would be the watchdog of local government? Not just our own, but what about coverage of state government? And let’s not forget local sports and community events.

I hear it all the time- the younger generation doesn’t read the newspaper. That’s OK. It’s not the physical form of the newspaper we need. It’s the NEWS. It’s the local journalists.

The San Pedro Valley News Sun will introduce digital subscriptions on Wednesday, Feb. 6, to help provide the resources needed to accommodate the growing number of readers who access bensonnew-sun.com.

Offering free access has helped build the website’s readership over the last 10 years into the most visited in Cochise County, Arizona with more than 60,000 page views in the past 12 months. But the realities of business are driving change.

While the newspaper industry’s initial response to the internet was to offer their content free online, this is not a sustainable business model. Like any other business, what we produce has value. This move to digital subscriptions recognizes that value. It will help us meet the rising cost of continuing to provide the quality local news that readers have come to expect.

For many decades, the San Pedro Valley News Sun has delivered news – particularly local news – that cannot be found elsewhere. No other media outlet can match the San Pedro Valley News Sun coverage of local government, sports, businesses, public safety, interesting neighbors, or where to go and what to do.

We want to continue sharing the unique flavors of this region with our readers, but we have to ensure that we have the resources to serve our community.

Beginning Feb. 6, digital subscriptions will open a new chapter in the San Pedro Valley News Sun’s story as a local business. This new approach, often referred to as a “metered paywall,” allows for different options based on a person’s level of news consumption.

Our new system will have little effect on the thousands of occasional visitors to bensonnew-sun.com or to subscribers to the print edition, who will continue to have complimentary access to the website for the duration of their subscription. But frequent, dedicated online readers will notice restrictions on the website that put some content off limits to nonsubscribers.

Visitors to bensonnew-sun.com will be allowed to view five articles per month for free. After that, a subscription will be required for unlimited digital access to website including the e-edition and archived content from past editions.

There will continue to be a significant number of free features on the website. All visitors to bensonnew-sun.com will have full access to the home page, plus some breaking news events. Reader polls, classified and retail advertising, public notices, special sections and the online calendar of events will be accessible to all.

The San Pedro Valley News Sun is offering a special deal that includes delivery of the print edition for new or existing subscribers prior to the launch of the website’s metered paywall. These print subscriptions will come with free access to bensonnew-sun.com.

We want to make this transition as easy and affordable as possible. We appreciate the longtime support of the bensonnew-sun.com in this community, and we look forward to continuing our role as Cochise County’s go-to source for local news.

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