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I’ve left this one for a while. Partly because I’ve been on pain killing drugs (Wisdom teeth extraction) and partly so I can cool down after learning about it.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette launched a paid service this week called “PG+”. For $36 per year or $3.99 per month you can become a PG+ member and get special access to blogs, special events, special experiences, and more.

While the PG+ Subscription isn’t overwhelmingly pricey I’m kind of irked about it all.

As a part of the subscription you get access to special blogs, written by Post Gazette writers, you can interact with them personally, sound off and join the conversation.

Isn’t this what a newspaper, especially a local one should be doing anyway? Shouldn’t you be reaching out to your audience and interacting with them?

What makes the PG ‘Bloggers’ so special that you can hide them and their Pittsburgh Buzz Content behind a subscription.

There are hundreds of quality bloggers in Pittsburgh. I dare say that I’d rather read them over the Pittsburgh Post Gazette writers. The local bloggers do have their fingers on the Pittsburgh Pulse because they’re actually out there doing the stuff.  They’re attending meetings, town halls, debates, events and more. They’re not sitting in their office in Downtown Pittsburgh with their select press passes.

I’ll be the first to tell you that there is, and always be a place for newspaper journalism. But bloggers are bloggers and should be accessible anyway.

Do you not add the writer email address and phone number to the end of every article? can we not interact with the journalists, call them, email them, leave comments?

I guess what I’m trying to say is. Don’t try to monetize your platform by hiding something that should be public anyway. Don’t charge for something that you should be doing/have been doing anyway.  Certainly don’t charge for something that hundreds of others are doing in your city, for free, at possibly a better quality already.

I’d pay for a special PG+ Pass to get me exclusive coupons and event notifications alone. I wouldn’t mind that. But I’m not going to pay for something a newspaper should be giving me when I buy it anyway.

I know a few people feel this way too. I’ve had feedbackand others have echoed the sentiment.

It wasn’t long ago that a group of Pittsburgh Social Media Gurus went to the Post Gazette offices (at no cost) and gave them a Twitter Tutorial, explaining how it can help them reach and broaden their customer base.

What are your thoughts? do you think newspaper reporter blogs should be subscription based? Does this exclude a reader base? Does it cry “we need money!”?

See also:

Newspapers are dying – Metroblogging Pittsburgh

Post Gazette Launch Announcement

2 Political Junkies


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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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