Gazette website changes are for customers and journalism

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Sid Schwartz
Monday, December 18, 2017

You'll see changes Tuesday on GazetteXtra.com.

Some changes are intended to make our website more user friendly for our customers. In most cases, for example, subscribers will need to log in only once every 30 days to access GazetteXtra.com, their subscriber account information and the electronic replica of the print edition.

Other changes are being made because journalism isn't free.

Starting Tuesday, all visitors to GazetteXtra.com will get three free articles per month before being asked to subscribe or buy a day pass.

The newsroom that creates award-winning, local journalism to fill the print pages of The Gazette and the electronic pages of GazetteXtra.com is the largest in the area. It's also expensive.

Advertising alone has never completely covered the cost of the newsroom. Newspapers have always charged for subscriptions. Digital advertising and marketing don't generate enough revenue to cover the expenses of our local journalism.

The Gazette is joining others in our industry in adopting models that rely more heavily on subscribers for revenue. Newspapers large to small across the nation are allowing visitors to sample their content before requiring payment.

We are committed to local journalism, and we hope people in our communities think it's important, too. But local news gathered and verified by journalists doesn't come free. We need to broaden our revenue stream to continue to produce the kind of content readers have come to expect from us.

Other changes in GazetteXtra.com are made possible by technology that lets us provide options we couldn't before.

Changes include a Facebook interface for commenting on stories. Given the popularity of Facebook, we hope this change brings more voices to our story comments. People commenting on stories have the option of having the comment appear on their Facebook pages, too.

We also have added a comprehensive entertainment and events calendar. This is something new for us, and we'll be asking readers to submit items. We hope it provides a way for community members to share events that are important to them.

A longer list of what else is new on our website can be found at GazetteXtra.com/NewSite.

Subscribers will need to update their passwords for the new site. Detailed instructions are available at GazetteXtra.com/activate.

Other questions can be directed to our customer service representatives at 608-741-6650.

We hope you find our new website interesting and engaging. If you want to share your thoughts, please email me at sschwartz@GazetteXtra.com.

Sid Schwartz is the editor of The Gazette.

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