We’ve changed our minds. In September we launched a policy where we would charge for the publication of social news items in our Daily Life section, including obituaries, births, weddings and the like. We continued to offer a “free” option for an abbreviated death notice in the paper and on our Web site.
After a three-month trial run, we’ve decided to go back to publishing social news items for free, using our previous formats as our content guide. We will continue to charge for the inclusion of photos with social news (at a rate of $10 per photo), and for extended obituaries where the family determines the content for publication.
What convinced us to change back? Our reason for charging was that we wanted to develop an additional revenue source rather than lay the burden for our increasing costs on our advertisers. We have now concluded that the revenue we might generate through paid social announcements is not sufficient to justify the loss of information that our readers value. Simply put, most people were not ready to pay for its distribution through the newspaper.
Welcome back to the “land of the free.” We feel good about being there, too. —DR