Clarksville, TN – The Leaf-Chronicle announced today what we’ve known now for a couple of months. They plan to start charging for their online content. The initial reactions have been pretty brutal.
Here’s a sample of what can be read:
“I will continue to get my info from NEWS Channel 5, they get Clarksville News WAY Before the Laff-Comical ever get’s it, Thank News Channel 5 for all you do.”
“This is an excellent idea… especially good to hear the obituary page will still be available at no charge, that way we can all read about the death of the Leaf Chronicle for free.”“When the Leaf Chronicle can start getting the stories it “reports” correct…I would consider this new plan. After seeing story after story with mistakes…including printing the wrong names of persons arrested for serious crimes (names that were provided to the writer in police reports)…I have little faith in the ability of this newspaper to provide the service the citizens expect.”
Wow! I give them credit for standing there and taking their “whoopin.”
I can’t speak for other markets where Gannett owns and operates a newspaper, but as the owner of the oldest radio station in Clarksville I can speak to the fact that Clarksville is very passionate about its media. We all feel like it’s “ours.” I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told what I should do, what I should broadcast, what stories I should cover.
WJZM is OUR radio station. The Leaf-Chronicle is OUR newspaper. Never has a community been more “territorial.”
I’ve often commented about the “love-hate” relationship this community has with the Leaf-Chronicle, and when Gene Washer left, things changed, dramatically. The General Manager “ain’t from around here” and we know it.
I’m not proud of that attitude but it is what it is.
With the struggles at the Associated Press, and Reuters, and hundreds of other community newspapers, we desperately need to have reliable sources of information, from organizations that know how to gather, write, and report the news. We need to be able to “trust” the news we get.
Gannett is a good company, facing an incredible challenge. Locally, they have a public relations problem. Their advertisers are moving away, and their readers don’t think they’re putting forth the effort to be “our newspaper” anymore.
(And don’t get me started on those annoying “drop down,” or “pop up” ads.)
It’s almost like paying $10.00 to go to the movie, then having to watch commercials. What’s up with that?
I think the consumer will see that the Leaf-Chronicle is worth paying for, and while the “Leaf” will take a “hit” for the short term, they’ll make the transition.
I think this is a “make it or break it” moment for them. Websites like Clarksville Online will see it’s traffic increase, but we’re already seeing huge numbers as it is, and our challenges are different.
Plus, we’re not trying to be the “800lb gorilla’ in the room.
So, drop them a line, or get in their face. Whatever you choose to do, remember, it’s important that we have a local newspaper.
I just hope THEY realize that.