Beginning March 1, the Independent Herald will require readers to be paid subscribers for unlimited access to its website, www.ihoneida.com.
In conjunction with that change, the newspaper has unveiled an electronic version of its print edition ó page for page ó which will be published online each week, and also announced that it will update content on its website throughout the week rather than once weekly.
The changes on the website have already been implemented, in order to give non-subscribers a look at what will be available to them with their paid subscription, should they choose to subscribe.
The change follows similar moves by newspapers in neighboring counties ó the Morgan County News and the LaFollette Press. Each has begun limiting online access to paid subscribers in the past 18 months. The Tennessean, Tennesseeís largest daily newspaper, has also begun restricting online access to paid subscribers and the Knoxville News Sentinel has announced plans to follow suit.
"An increasing number of newspapers — from community weeklies to metro dailies — are moving forward with similar changes," Independent Herald publisher Paul Roy said. "We arenít the first newspaper to take this route, nor will we be the last."
Readers who subscribe to the print edition of the Independent Herald and do not access the ihoneida.com website will notice no changes to the way their news is delivered each week. Neither will readers who purchase the Independent Herald from newsstands.
The changes will be limited to customers who are accustomed to viewing local news online each week. While some features ó such as obituaries, occasional breaking news stories and classified ads ó will remain free for all website readers, the bulk of the online content will require a user to be logged into the website in order to read.
With that change, there will also be expanded free content on the website, such as photo galleries of sporting events and community happenings.
A subscription to the Independent Herald costs $25 per year for addresses in Scott County and $30 per year for addresses outside Scott County.
"In making this decision, we opted to simplify the process by offering unlimited website access to subscribers of the newspaper, rather than offering a stand-alone subscription that is for online access only," Roy said. "The yearly cost of $25 to $30 for both unlimited online access and a full yearís subscription to our print edition is still in line with what many newspapers charge for online access only."
For the immediate future, the e-edition of the newspaper, which is a digital replica of the print edition, will not be supported on mobile devices, such as phones and tablets utilizing the iOS or Android operating systems. However, the website itself, which will be continuously updated with news stories, obituaries and other content, is supported by all mobile devices.
The newspaper feels that the changes will benefit readers looking for the most convenient way to access local news.
"For years, many loyal and web-savvy subscribers to the Independent Herald have waited patiently for the newspaper to arrive in their mailboxes outside Scott County so they can keep up with whatís happening back home," Independent Herald editor Ben Garrett said. "This change will allow those subscribers to view that news as it occurs, and to view the electronic version of our print edition as soon as it rolls off the press.
"We feel this will benefit our readers by making delivery of the news more convenient and benefit our advertisers by placing their ads in front of a more expansive online audience," Garrett added.
Current subscribers to the Independent Herald interested in accessing online content can email firstname.lastname@example.org prior to March 1 to receive login credentials. Readers wishing to subscribe to the paper can do so the traditional ways — in person or by mailing payment to 19391 Alberta Street, Oneida, TN 37841, or by phoning in a subscription with payment via credit card. Subscribers can also visit ihoneida.com to subscribe via credit card.