Nearly five years after we started up this website, we’ve taken a big step in the ongoing development of newsinenglish.no. We’ve started offering subscriptions that will allow readers full, ongoing access to all our stories and provide a far more systematic means of keeping the site itself strong.
We’ve been fortunate over the years to enjoy some donations from readers keen to keep us going, and for that we’ve been both grateful and encouraged. It’s simply not fair, however, that only some readers support us financially.
And we do need revenues, after so many years of offering news, photos, analysis and a debate platform at no charge, while also investing in new servers and technical capacity to handle the load. Like many specialized websites, we don’t see great prospects in advertising revenues, nor do we want to clutter up the site with promotional messages. We’d also like to keep the site free of so-called “advertorials,” sponsored articles that may look like editorial content but can blur the lines between advertising and journalism.
So we’ve entered into an agreement with one of the leading players in online subscription management, MediaPass of California, which now has the exclusive right to sell our content through subscriptions priced at a rate that reflects what some readers already have been donating voluntarily: USD 7.95 (just under NOK 50) a month for those signing on for a year, or USD 9.95 for a single month. Others have actually asked us to “send a bill” for accounting purposes. Now they’ll be able to buy a subscription, in a straightforward, systematic way via MediaPass. Our front page and menu pages will remain open to everyone, as will a limited number of stories per month for those clicking into our news flow and extensive archives.
We were prepared for some negative reaction to what’s often called a “paywall,” and we certainly got it. Far from wanting to “kill off” our readers and active commenters, as some disgruntled readers accused us of doing, we’re trying to sustain the website and its platform for sharing news and lively debate. With virtually no revenues coming in before the subscription service began, we needed to seriously address sustainability, and I personally could no longer afford to work for free. This site had been a labour of love long enough. Subscription support will allow us to finally hire some help, and we in turn have just subscribed to photo agency Scanpix/NTB, to be able to offer more news photos when the need arises. Reliable revenue should help us expand our coverage.
Mostly, though, we just want to keep our own brand of news, analysis and commentary from Norway coming. We hope you’ll stick with us, subscribe, and let that happen.