Our central Kentucky newspapers, The Advocate-Messenger, the Interior Journal, the Jessamine Journal and the Winchester Sun, have proudly served our communities for more than 150 years. Our length of service is due in part to an unrelenting adherence to our core values and by producing content and services that add value to the lives of our customers.
It is important to note that our first core value states, “We constantly strive to improve to meet the needs and wants of readers, listeners, viewers, users, and advertisers...” And we get that in this digital world people are turning to us whenever they need content – no matter how they want that content delivered - and that they expect that content to be compelling, fresh and add value to their lives.
Through those 150 years, we have been a part of our community’s fabric and strived to make the community stronger. We have covered many stories that have helped inform, educate and impact this community. Our commitment to deliver the facts and play a role as watchdog and advocate has never changed, but the vehicles by which we deliver that content continue to multiply.
We understand that over time, our customers’ wants and needs have changed and that our intensely local coverage and advertising has become even more relevant to our community. Our portfolio of products continues to expand based on customer feedback as does the number of offerings that our customers can take advantage of at no additional cost.
Translation - we offer our customers more content in more ways than ever, and that content is hyper local and unavailable anywhere else.
In order to keep pace with ever changing economic realities, we have had to look at new fiscal models which allow us to continue to improve our connection to customers, our content and overall product portfolio.
We have also recognized that we need to do business differently if we are to remain part of our community’s fabric for the next 150 years. Our commitment to community as well as the search for a sustainable way to do that is also very much on our radar. Our second core value states, “Our company’s strength mirrors the strength of our communities. We support our local communities as a good corporate citizen and encourage active involvement. We are committed to excellence in all that we do. We hold each other accountable for using our best efforts to achieve success.”
With this in mind, on Dec. 3, 2012, we will join a growing number of newspapers when we migrate from a subscription model to more sustainable membership model.
What’s the difference between a subscription and a membership?
A subscription model is print focused, while our new membership model will include a variety of products, including the print paper, our E-edition, unlimited access to our website, some free classified categories, some free announcements within the paper as well as other membership benefits. We intend to deliver increasingly compelling local content and services to our customers with the immediacy and convenience allowed by current technology.
With the launch our membership program, full members will have unlimited access to all content on our website as well as other benefits. Non-members will have access to a limited number of local stories per month as set by our metered pay wall.
Breaking news, national stories and shared content, advertising, community calendars, photos and videos as well as comics and puzzles will continue to accessible to all at all times. Note that we have a commitment to the community to “get the word out” with breaking news. People inside and outside our communities have come to count on us for critical breaking news on events like the 2009 ice storm, a train derailment or a hostage situation – and that won’t change. We will make sure that our audience can still count on us for those critical items in times of crisis.
Our current subscribers will enjoy full membership through their current subscription period. We will send out information in our invoices, explaining what the changes and benefits mean to our customers. Membership options will range from full membership, which will mean a modest increase to some subscribers, to new digital-only options.
John Preston, our Audience Relations Director, will publish a corresponding column listing specific membership benefits and what you can expect from us, beginning in December. John will highlight some of the interesting ways we use technology today to enhance our coverage. (It might surprise you that today, we offer a free app that allows readers to view video and photo galleries behind some images in our paper. We expect use of this app - KY-Xtra – to steadily increase as we are able to use it in our Newspaper In Education programs and readers understand that they can see unpublished photos through this app.)
We believe that moving toward a membership model will allow us to continue to invest in the content and technology to add value to our customers’ daily lives whether they are at home or on the go.
Thank you to our print subscribers for your continued membership, and welcome to our new digital and full membership members. Thanks to you, we can continue to provide compelling content for years to come, while supporting our communities.