I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Watching the Clarion Ledger shrink and shrink until it finally disappears.

Gannett’s papers, including the Clarion Ledger, are going behind a paywall this year.  It will work like the one at the NY Times:  You get a few free articles a month and then have to pay:

The vogue for digital paywalls sweeping the news business has made it all the way to the top:Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, is planning to switch over all of its 80 community newspapers to a paid model by the end of the year, it announced during an investor day held in Manhattan Wednesday.

“We will begin to restrict some access to non-subscribers,” said Bob Dickey, president of community publishing. The model is similar to the metered system adopted by The New YorkTimes a year ago, in which online readers are able to view a limited number of pages for free each month. That quota will be between five and 15 articles, depending on the paper, said Dickey. Six Gannett papers already have a digital pay regimen in place.

There is one Gannett title, however, that will remain free, at least for the foreseeable future: USA Today

The Commercial Appeal has taken that approach, something I only learned about a week ago when I got the “You’ve reached the limit!” message.

I sympathize with these paper’s need to find a business model that generates revenue from their content.  But the Clarion Ledger’s coverage has become so weak– they didn’t even send a reporter to the supreme court argument in the pardons case!*– that I can’t imagine paying a monthly fee to read it.  What this means is that I will read it even less.


*Update and possible correction:  Kingfish, who was there, writes in comments they did send a reporter, although the story they ran on their website was the AP wire story on the argument.

16 comments to Watching the Clarion Ledger shrink and shrink until it finally disappears.

  • Anderson

    That’s just it. I’m paying for … what?

  • Jane

    I used to get so mad on the mornings I woke up and my paper wasn’t there. Now I sometimes don’t even bother to open it.

  • Jane

    But check this out in the NYT. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/us/volunteers-offer-salamanders-a-chance-to-mate.html?scp=1&sq=salamander&st=cse

    My boyfriend took the photos so I rode along (and was ordered to stay out of the photos). The salamanders were beautiful. A few had gorgeous pink spots but the pink didn’t show up in the photos. Also, the story is very nicely written.

  • Anderson

    Typical. I learn more what goes on in MS from national media than from the C-L.

  • Terminator

    The CL legal reporting has long been substandard. I doubt they have anyone over there that could have remotely understood the pardongate legal proceedings, although from the debates here, that might not be the best example to cite for their poor skills. Jimmy Gates, in particular, who has over 20 years of crime beat experience can rarely accurately report on routine criminal proceedings.

    I doubt the CL generates much revenue with a pay wall. On most of them the obits and weather stay available on the free side and that’s about the only thing of value in that paper.

  • Richard

    The idiots at the CL ravaged what talent they had for years prior to instituting the paywall, obviating any desire for readers to pay for the totally worthless product. When did Noah build the ark? Before the rain.

  • Chico Harris

    Jane, I wondered yesterday why that story did not have a Mississippi dateline.

  • Chico Harris

    The Clarion-Ledger has been in a nose-dive since Raad Cawthon left. With Rick Cleveland gone, it’s worth will be Scott Baretta’s column.

  • plexix

    This whole “newspapers are going out of business” business makes me sad. I have been walking out to the end of my driveway and picking up the CL for over 30 years now. I also picked up the Jackson Daily News at the end of my driveway back when it was in business. There’s just something about popping off the rubber band and scanning the headlines while I’m pouring my coffee, and then sitting down with an actual paper and going over every section, in order (sports first), that I really enjoy. Apparently I am in the minority now.

    But people are now buying vinyl records like crazy (I heard there’s a new vinyl shop opening up in Oxford) so maybe nostalgia can keep newspapers alive.

  • [...] also remember that news organizations needs boots on the ground. We hear this story out of Mississippi.  I sympathize with these paper’s need to find a business model that generates revenue from their [...]

  • Anderson

    Raad Cawthon … he of the “cavorting homosexuals” column. Good times.

  • yes they did. Earnest Hart was at the hearing. sitting on front row of balcony. Sent a photographer as well.

  • Jane

    I don’t know why the NYT story did not have a Mississippi dateline. The pictures were taken over a month ago (I think). The writer Kim Severson is based in Atlanta. She’s really good. She had a piece in one of the food mags recently.

    As for the CL, Beverly Pettigrew was really good at her job covering the courts. She left the CL to work for the Miss. Supreme Court ages ago.

  • NMC

    Kingfish wrote:

    yes they did. Earnest Hart was at the hearing. sitting on front row of balcony. Sent a photographer as well.
    << that’s weird — they ran a wire story and used AP pool photos.

  • Anderson

    Yeah, they took pictures, but didn’t even add to Emily Wagster Pettus‘s AP story.

    I guess since she used to be at the C-L, they figured that was contribution enough. Or something.

    Anyway, with these staff cuts, gonna be a lot more AP coverage of local news in the C-L.

    … Rather to my surprise, there’s a good comment at that link. Charles Conner wrote:

    I think that this report still fails to consider the financial impact on the inmate, and how that 30-day/5-times requirement sets a financial standard for an individual for the pardon seeker which is akin to a “poll tax” that subsequently infringes on the clear power to pardon granted to the Governor.

    I had already thought about the exorbitant cost of publishing an entire “petition,” but I hadn’t thought about the publication requirement as a backdoor negation of the pardon power. If the applicant really is required to publish his “petition,” and that costs (a figure I heard) $4,000, then (1) has ANY pardonee ever complied with that, and (2) where does that leave the pardon power?

  • Anne

    The Clarion Ledger on Monday and Tuesday put together can almost start my charcoal when I grill. I’m sure that’s all it’s good for. They apparently can’t make payroll and employes still take furlough one week at a time. I could go on and on but from what I know they brought it on themselves. : ). What goes around comes around

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