Can you waive online fee for distance readers?

Question: As an occasioal online reader of the Review I wonder if anyone has given consideration to waiving the subscription requirement for distance readers. I understand perfectly the reason for such a local requirement, but because of the immediacy nature of delivery, a distance subscription is not feasible for me. Regardless of your answer, the best to the Review. -- Bob Wilson

Answer: Thanks for the note. Much of what we have on will remain free. Here are some of the free things: Breaking local news; Breaking national and international news; Obituaries; Births; Between 15 and 20 online columns, or "blogs" on everything from Cougar football, to health, to music, movies and books; Multimedia features, photo slideshows, special projects and special sections; Links to local bloggers; Multimedia obituaries; Iraq casualty database; High school sports scores and schedules; The entire contents of Friday's "7" section and a daily events calendar; Comprehensive election coverage in a special online section; All classified advertising.

In order to read the stories that appeared in the printed newspaper, you will need a subscription. That's an unfortunate but necessary business decision on our part. We spend a lot of money gathering that information and can't justify giving it away for free to online-only readers, while our print readers are charged a monthly subscription.

As far as waiving the fee for distance readers, it would be nice from a readership standpoint. But our local advertisers want their ads viewed by local readers, who can patronize their businesses. It's actually a detriment to us to have distance readers, who not only wouldn't pay a subscription, but would lessen the effectiveness of the advertising. If I had a magic wand, I'd make sure we had ads from national companies to place before distance readers, but we don't have any such ads and no real way to place those ads in front of select people anyway.

We hope that you recognize that much of what we have on remains free, and that what we do charge for has value.

And I appreciate you taking the time to write. -- Ken Sands, managing editor of online and new media

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