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Daily Star paywall to charge online readers

Changes are coming to the website of the Arizona Daily Star. The site has changed its URL, from azstarnet.com to tucson.com, and a long-delayed paywall was rolling out on Sunday, with publisher Chase Rankin offering scanty details in a paean to the shifts in the site.
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19 comments on this story

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Jul 10, 2014, 2:37 pm
-1 +9

Um….with most paywalls (I say “most” just to keep myself from potentially looking stupid. In my experience it has been ALL), can’t you just put your browser in porn mode and get in? I’m sure there’s some sort of Firefox add-on script, also, but I haven’t drilled deep enough to find one yet.

As to Villareal’s layoff, I had read his post about it. I felt for the guy. HR employees are some of the worst people on Earth. They either don’t comprehend or just disregard concept as honesty, courtesy, and respect. Either they don’t follow the Golden Rule, or they like being treated like complete shit. Whereever there is a low road, that’s what the HR employee will follow. And, if they can find a road even lower they’ll take that one. I don’t know how they sleep at night.

There’s a right way to fire someone, and a wrong way. The way Villareal described happened to him is the complete and total wrong way. I totally get that the ADS is running out of money and needs to reduce expenses by making some cuts, but they could have just called the guy into the office, told him straight up that this was a financial thing, thank him for his years of service, give him a letter of recommendation to show to future potential employers, and allowed the guy to collect his own belongings.

I have been fired the wrong way, more than once. With most of those former employers, I could have parted with them on good terms and hold no resentment toward them now if they would have just fired me the right way.

Jul 14, 2014, 10:00 am
-1 +3

Dylan, did you have to add the picture of Chase Rankin? I come to the Sentinel to get away from that guy. Over the past few days, I have seen no less than five stories over there with his photo on it. News monkeys are supposed to report the news, not be the news. Sometimes the news monkeys forget that, or just disregard it for a personal interest once in a while, but Rankin is going way over the top by plastering his face all over the new/old site. (I’m not going to call it “new”. A new color scheme, a new URL, and a paywall does not a new site make).

Jul 14, 2014, 10:44 am
-1 +2

@Bret Linden, aren’t you amped about the gardening column?

Jul 14, 2014, 11:12 am
-0 +3

So they’re only allowing 10 free “metered views” a month.  Do you know when that starts?  I went on today and it doesn’t show a countdown yet, but they do have the new subscribe button in place.

I sure hope all other local on-line media steps up like you and all the TV stations and starts carrying more AP stories so we can all circumvent the STAR.  They need to learn you shouldn’t have to pay for news and information, just donate to Dillon.

Jul 14, 2014, 11:13 am
-0 +1

Subscription rates have increased dramatically. Needs to be addressed by the Star’s “leadership.”

Jul 14, 2014, 11:14 am
-0 +0

@Bret - an ugly color scheme at that!

Jul 14, 2014, 11:15 am
-0 +2

Dylan Smith wrote:

@Bret Linden, aren’t you amped about the gardening column?

Actually, I am. It might be the only thing on the ADS without some sort of blatant political agenda that their editorial staff is pushing.

Jul 14, 2014, 11:27 am
-0 +4

@Thinker, we don’t run AP stories — we don’t have a quarter-million dollars a year to throw at posting random nonsense that has nothing to do with Tucson.

Rather than publishing stories that can be found on thousands of other websites, we focus on original reporting and work with a few selected news organizations to publish their work when it’s relevant to our readers here in Southern Arizona.

Certainly, we do rely on our readers’ support for our work.

But we’re not putting up a paywall.

TucsonSentinel.com is a local, independent nonprofit, and our mission is to inform our readers. We believe a smarter Tucson is a better Tucson.

Yes, it takes money to do solid professional reporting. But, from our point of view, putting barriers between readers and news doesn’t help build a more informed community. Unfortunately, those who most need to be exposed to grounded, nonpartisan reporting are those who are the least likely to ever pay for it. That’s why we’re not going to block people from reading our site unless they pony up.

Instead, we tell our readers that your donation isn’t paying just for your ability to read our work — when you support TucsonSentinel.com, you’re providing your friends and neighbors with quality reporting on Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Knowledge isn’t a zero-sum game. Rich, poor, right, left, middle of the road and middle class — we all live here together, and want our city to be a place where people love to live. If we’re going to make wise decisions about the future of our community, we ALL need to be informed.

Jul 14, 2014, 12:18 pm
-1 +2

@Dylan Smith

As far as your responses to reader comments go, I think this may be your finest work! :)

Jul 14, 2014, 12:35 pm
-0 +1

It’s almost painful watching Bobbie Buel.

Jul 14, 2014, 1:09 pm
-1 +3

The Star chat is slow. Looks like they’re using planted questions. And editing them. #epicfail

Jul 14, 2014, 1:50 pm
-1 +2

Geez Dillon, it was just a suggestion as to how to pick up some more on-line readers and to circumvent the STAR’s paywall.  We should all make an effort to circumvent the STAR’s paywall.

Jul 14, 2014, 2:03 pm
-0 +3

I appreciate that (at least the first part ;), Thinker - and thanks.

AP stories can generate traffic, sure. But they cost a giant pile of money, and if we had that sort of kitty we’d put it into hiring even more great local journalists to dig into stories here.

Also, wire stories end up attracting a lot of non-local readers. If we were to say, pick up wire copy on MLB games, a lot of the resulting readers wouldn’t be from Tucson.

That’s not something that would accomplish our mission of building a smarter, better Tucson — not to mention that our sponsors also care about reaching local readers with the message that they support our work because they are concerned about our community. We want to have more local readers because we’re covering the stories that they want and need to know.

As to circumventing the paywall, there are quick and easy ways around nearly every paywall. I suppose it’s a matter of taste as to whether that’s the right thing to do or not. Those wire stories are available on free websites all over the place.

Jul 14, 2014, 2:56 pm
-0 +2

So I was curious as to what rule the ADS wrote for themselves that gives them the blessing to arbitrarily delete my comments. I looked over their TOS. I didn’t find anything where they say that they can delete a comment just because they don’t like it, but I did find this…

At this time, there is no cost for using the basic or premium services of this Site. From time to time there may be premium content available via subscription or surcharge, and those areas will be clearly marked. Because this is an advertising-supported service, we encourage you to patronize the advertisers who help make this service possible.

Looks like that could use some updating.

Jul 14, 2014, 3:07 pm
-0 +2

@Bret Linden, At least we’ve been clear on that point from the beginning: see the final line of our User Guidelines (in the sidebar) ; )

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