In about 1992, the Daily Herald started appearing on news stands in Crystal Lake.
Sometime about 1993, there was a meeting at the Cary Country Club to announce that the paper was going to start covering McHenry County.
Knowing that having competition makes all the competing entities better products, I anxiously awaited the time when household delivery would be introduced in Crystal Lake.
And a reporter assigned to cover Crystal Lake affairs.
Twenty years have passed.
A significant presence in the coverage of county government occurred, but disappeared when Chuck Keeshan was promoted from reporter to the editorial staff.
True, the Daily Herald printing press now produces the Northwest Herald, but that merely diminishes the incentive for the Arlington Heights-based paper to compete on news coverage. Can’t cover fixed costs if you drive your customer-competitor out of business.
Today, the Daily Herald announced that internet access would be restricted to those who pay $20 a month. Multiply that out and it’s $240 a year.
That’s more than the $189.80 a year price for home delivery. I called to double check the price and found callers can get home delivery for $153.40.
In any event home delivery would cost less than internet delivery.
To charge more for a product for which one does not have to print than for the print edition makes no sense.
Oh, yes. If you subscribe, internet access will cost $1 a week more. Adding $52 to the 189.80 online price totals $241.80, $1.80 more a year than pulling it off the internet.
If you believe that people need more than one news source in order for our democratic process to succeed, the Daily Herald’s announcement is not a positive one.
I cannot imagine anyone paying more for internet access to the Daily Herald as it costs for a paper delivered to the door…assuming that is possible (as it still isn’t in Crystal Lake).
Here’s a bit of what the paper says about its change to a pay-to-view format:
“The Daily Herald will become the first newspaper in the Chicago area to charge regularly for digital access, the company announced today in letters to its readers. “
“‘It is our intention that no one without a subscription will have ongoing access to the Daily Herald newspaper content, dailyherald.com or any other Daily Herald digital platform,’ said Douglas K. Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of Paddock Publications, which operates the suburban newspaper.”
“A new payment structure will enable us to continue to provide the kind of quality local news and the journalism expected from the Daily Herald,” Ray says.
The one word answer is, of course, money.
“Newspapers all over the country are realizing that they cannot rely solely on the income from advertisers to create and sustain the kind of journalism the community deserves, as new media have taken an increasingly larger slice of the available marketing dollars,” the Publisher writes.
Eight days notice.
But, at first, there will be limited access…but not to the “premium content.”
Ray calls it “a bold move,” because most of other newspapers who have taken this route are in non-competitive markets.
“Another example of journalistic leadership,” he adds.
It’s been nice knowing you.