January 23, 2019

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Opinion

Adapting so we can continue to serve you

The Winnipeg Free Press has always been connected to Manitoba.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The Winnipeg Free Press has always been connected to Manitoba.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/4/2015 (1383 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

At one level, the big change in store for this 142-year-old institution is all about small change.

A newspaper just slightly older than our city and just slightly younger than our province will be the first in North America to offer online readers a pay-per-view option later this month.

But at another level, what the Free Press is doing by introducing an a la carte reading menu is about values that go further and deeper than what you'd typically get for two bits plus two cents.

Let me explain.

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*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

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  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/4/2015 (1383 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

At one level, the big change in store for this 142-year-old institution is all about small change.

A newspaper just slightly older than our city and just slightly younger than our province will be the first in North America to offer online readers a pay-per-view option later this month.

But at another level, what the Free Press is doing by introducing an a la carte reading menu is about values that go further and deeper than what you'd typically get for two bits plus two cents.

Let me explain.

From our humble beginnings in a rented shack at 555 Main St. with a printing press purchased in New York, the Free Press has been rooted in this community. That connection has been strengthened with every headline, from floods to festivals, through world wars and general strikes, in triumph and tragedy.

Today, we are grateful for the role we play as the hometown paper, but also mindful of the responsibility that comes with telling the stories of the community in which we live and serve.

As strong as that community connection is, our 143-year record of service can't carry us through the digital revolution that is overturning the traditional business plan that supported our journalism.

Yes, there is the power of the press. But that power is nothing compared to the combined weight of Google and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. And to be clear, the threat to the Free Press is the same one facing newspapers everywhere.

Earlier this week, Martin Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post, gave a speech that outlined how the paper that broke the Watergate story is responding to the digital challenges so it can continue its mission to "tell the truth as nearly as the truth may be ascertained."

"We're dealing here with nothing less than forces of nature in a modern economy. Waves of technology are eroding our foundation. They threaten our traditional journalistic home. Survival dictates we move. And we have to move quickly," Baron said in his talk on the Post's transition from print to digital.

"This transformation is going to happen no matter what. And there is only one realistic choice available: We can do what we must to adapt and — ideally — thrive. Or not — in which case we are choosing to fail."

We would never choose to fail this community. So we, too, are doing what we must to adapt — and ideally thrive.

We hope our all-access and pay-per-view digital plans will shore up the foundations of the Free Press and allow us to do more — not less, as is the case facing other media outlets in our city.

Our pitch is predicated on you finding value in not only what we produce, but also our redesigned website that will allow you to personalize your reading experience.

We recognize there will always be sources of information beyond the Free Press. And we know some will look to sources that are free, rather than pay to read what we produce.

But no other website has you and your city as a core value of its journalistic mission. No other website covers not only the big games for the Jets but also the games that matter for minor hockey players with big-league dreams. No other website covers power plays in the halls of government as well as plays staged in our theatres. No other website has as many reporters and photographers — all of whom live in your community — serving as eyewitnesses to the events that shape our city and province.

The solution the Guardian in England — one of the leading newspapers in the world — is using to help fund its brand of journalism is to appeal to those who share its values to make donations in exchange for a membership.

Obviously, we are not asking for donations from the members of our community of readers. But there is a similarity in our appeal by way of shared values.

We've always valued this city, and that's why we've invested 143 years in telling stories you have a right to know. We hope you will see value in a newspaper that will continue that journalistic mission, even just 27 cents at a time.

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We are continually making improvements to our online offerings, and the best way for us to keep track of what needs to change is to see what people are reading, sharing, or commenting on.

By having all of our readers log in, we are able to see what is being viewed by the most people. Then we can show each reader more of the stories they enjoy, and spend more effort creating those stories.

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We have implemented a new centralized login system for all of our websites. Based on the increased security of this new system, we require that you reset your password. For privacy reasons we do not have access to you existing password so it must be reset.

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When you are logged in at winnipegfreepress.com, access your "My Account" page (a link is availble at the top right corner of our pages). Scroll down to the header "My Email Alerts". From there you can unsubscribe to any emails you do not wish to receive.

Does an account cost anything?

Accounts are currently free. In the future, we will be charging for our news. You will have the option to subscribe monthly, or to pay on a per-article basis.

How much will digital access cost?

You can subscribe monthly for $16.99, which includes unlimited digital access to all our Winnipeg Free Press content, obituaries, commenting, apps, e-edition, and an optional Saturday print delivery (if you are within our delivery area). You can also pay on a per-article basis for only 27¢/article.

What is the price to receive digital access if I am already a subscriber?

If you are a six-day, Monday-to-Friday, or Thursday-Friday-Saturday subscriber, unlimited digital access to Free Press online content is included in your subscription.

If you receive only our Saturday paper, you can upgrade your account to All Access Digital subscription for an additional $5/month (based on standard rates), and continue to receive your printed Saturday paper.

I am a subscriber, do I need to pay 27¢?

As a multi-day print subscriber you do not need to pay-per-article. Your multi-day subscription includes unlimited access to all Winnipeg Free Press digital properties.

The only people who need to pay-per-article are those who do not have subscriptions, or those who only receive a printed Saturday paper.

Why are you charging for obituaries?

We have always charged readers to see the obituaries printed in our newspaper, and we do not plan on changing that practice.

However, we recognize that some people who do not have subscriptions want to view obituaries, in particular to pay their respects.

To allow this, first-time readers may view several obituaries before they are required to create an account or pay for an obituary. Readers who regularly review our obituaries may pay by the article, or subscribe monthly.

Why 27¢?

We get this question often! We feel that 27¢ is a very reasonable price, based on the amount of time and effort that goes into most articles. We considered many factors when determining 27¢, but in the end this is the lowest we think we can charge for our articles while still being fair to those that create them.

If you purchase an article and don’t think it was worth the 27¢, there will be an easy refund option. We don’t think 27¢ is an unreasonable price, but we want you to rest assured that you’re getting bang for your two bits and two cents.

— Paul Samyn is the Free Press editor

paul.samyn@freepress.mb.ca

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