It has been almost a week since we began our digital subscription model for the websites of The Daily News and The Livingston County News.
Reaction to the change has been as expected — mixed.
Many readers have been supportive, recognizing the value having a local newspaper serving their community provides and the need for such service to continue.
Others have been a little more colorful in expressing their ire at the change.
We understand — we are asking you to pay for something that for years you have been able to access for free.
The switch to this digital subscription model for thedailynewsonline.com and thelcn.com was not an easy one to make. But we are also not unique in making this change. Many news organizations now require some sort of subscription to read their content online. We were able to hold out longer than most, but as the costs of doing business increase we must find new ways to generate revenue to pay for those costs. One way to do that is through a reader-supported digital subscription model.
Just as there are costs to produce a daily newspaper, there are also costs to produce the online version. We recently ended a longtime relationship with a syndicate that provided some of our most popular comic strips because they were going to increase our subscription significantly. Our cost to the syndicate was going to be the equivalent of two full-time news reporters. We chose to retain news reporters so that we could continue to deliver the region’s most comprehensive news report.
By subscribing to our newspaper — which includes free access to the website — readers are able to show that they value and support local journalism and local jobs. They do the same with a digital subscription.
We are continuing to produce a print edition of both papers. Online, readers have access to additional content such as documents and reports featured in the stories, videos and additional photographs. Stories online are frequently updated as new information develops.
While there are many options for news consumers, no one else in the region has a professional staff as experienced as The Daily News/Livingston County News and no one else delivers as much local news, sports and community information as we do. Our journalists — several of whom have covered the GLOW region for more than 25 years — have been recognized with state and national awards for its efforts.
Our reporters (and other employees) not only work in our communities, but they also live here, shop here, play here and are involved in activities that support and enhance their communities.
That experience and community connections allow us to provide local stories you can’t get anywhere else.
The cost of a digital subscription to The Daily News, or The Livingston County News at $9.99 per month, is cheaper than many other services we pay for as consumers and provides 24/7 access to our news report. A print subscription includes the digital subscription and comes with the added value of advertising inserts, flyers, and additional products not available online.
Internet, phones, cable or streaming services all cost significantly more than a monthly digital subscription to our websites. And those are services that get used and are then gone. But the stories that appear in our newspapers and on our websites still get clipped and pasted into scrapbooks or on refrigerators and shared widely across the internet.
If the community did not have a strong, experienced local newspaper, it would be at a great disadvantage. An episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain, “Starving the Watchdogs: Who Foots the Bill When Newspapers Disappear?,” points out that television news often quotes print news sources, the loss of a hometown paper negatively affects voter turnout, especially on the local level; and the cost of municipal loans in communities where newspapers closed have increased. The report found that without the watchdog aspect of professional journalists, banks see the loans as more risky since government officials are not held accountable.
We, as a company, are dedicated to ensuring that communities such as Batavia or Geneseo and all the towns, villages and hamlets of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties continue to have a strong source of local news and with it the unique stories and local commentary that are important to maintaining a vibrant community.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has closed businesses whose advertising has traditionally supported their local paper, has heightened the economic challenges of newspapers across the country. Johnson Newspaper Corp., parent company of The Daily News and The Livingston County News is facing those same financial challenges with a deep decline in advertising.
It is a challenge faced by newspapers nationwide. Digital and print subscriptions are a way for readers to help us meet that challenge and keep local journalism sustaining.
Accessing our websites
If you have a print subscription to either The Daily News in Batavia or The Livingston County News, you do have online access to the website of the respective paper. However, there is one thing you need to do activate that access. If you have an email address on file with your subscription, then you can go the website and create a user account. The program will search the subscriber database for a matching email and connect you. On future visits to the site you will need to sign in to ensure unrestricted access.
If you do not have an email address on file, contact Gary Durawa, our circulation director, for assistance. He can be reached via email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (585) 815-1454.
If you are a new digital subscriber, you can create a user account on the website to start your subscription.
Once your digital subscription is active, you will need to sign into your website account when visiting the site, otherwise the website won’t be able to identify you as a subscriber.
Ben Beagle is regional editor for The Daily News and The Livingston County News. He has been telling the stories of GLOW region residents for more than 26 years.