Why Murray Bridge News is introducing a paywall

All you need to know about Murray Bridge News' paid subscription service.

As of May 4, 2020, Murray Bridge News has introduced a premium subscription service, or paywall, as a means of generating revenue to support my work.

What does that mean?

For those of you reading this article, or who receive the email newsletter I send out every Thursday, nothing changes – not right away, anyway.

The newsletter will still be free for all to read, the website home page will be accessible to all, and many stories will remain free to read, including those about coronavirus, police news and other important public announcements.

All people should have access to the information they need – that is a principle I hold dear.

But some stories on this website – the ones for which I put in a bit more legwork, chasing the quotes, photos or details that give you a comprehensive overview of a topic – will be tagged as premium content, and accessible only to paying subscribers.

Similar models have proven useful to many other publications, including The Advertiser.

Importantly, I believe in setting a low price for a premium subscription – in this case, just $5.50 per month or $60 per year.

That, too, is about ensuring people's access to information.

I know there are arguments against paywalls, though, so let’s explore a couple of them.

I can read the news elsewhere for free

Yes, you can read news stories elsewhere for free, from some outstanding organisations.

But Murray Bridge News is the only independent, locally owned news service based here in the Murraylands, with a journalist living and working in Murray Bridge and profits remaining in the local community.

No other outlet has the same depth of understanding of the issues that are important to you, and the context in which they sit.

I have lived in Murray Bridge since 2012; my wife and I have a house here, and we’re bringing up our two young girls here.

I have written more than a million words in thousands of stories about this region – at 200-400 words each, 10-15 stories a week, 46 weeks a year, you can check my maths if you like.

The news has always been free online

Yes and no.

For much of the history of the internet, yes, news has mostly been free to read.

But it has never been free to produce.

You have always paid for the news on the ABC through your taxes.

Local businesses have, until now, paid for the production of local news by taking out advertisements, mainly in print.

Someone, somewhere has always covered the cost.

If readers are the people paying my wages, that allows me to sharpen my focus on what you want.

But I can’t afford $5 a month

Fair enough.

But $5 per month (plus GST) is the price a majority of people said they would be willing to pay in a reader survey I circulated around the time Murray Bridge News launched, and it’s less than the cost of buying a local newspaper each week.

I’m not planning to get rich out of it, and may not even make a full-time wage solely from subscriptions.

But a few dollars a month from a few people will help me pay my mortgage and look after my girls while I dedicate myself to this little venture full-time.

If you decide you can’t afford it right now, or you’d rather spend a little longer figuring out if a premium subscription is for you, click here for a free 14-day trial.

Otherwise, just hit the “subscribe now” button below and help Murray Bridge News really get going!