Andrew Cutler

Andrew Cutler

The complaint was a familiar one and flashed across my computer screen recently. Why are there Facebook posts with links to articles on the East Oregonian website that we can’t read because we do not have a subscription?

It is a good question with an obvious — but not a casual — answer: Our business — our stock and trade — is professionally researched, edited, published and delivered news and information. Like any other profession or business, we expect to be remunerated for our labor.

Part of the problem is one of perception. The newspaper industry embraced the free content theme online more than 20 years ago and it was a mistake. Once news consumers could get their news for free, they expected it and, in turn, the effort to produce the news lost perceived value.

Make no mistake, producing news isn’t easy and it isn’t cheap. People — reporters, editors, pressmen, delivery drivers, etc. — do not do their work for free. Just like you, they work to receive a paycheck to pay bills and to live.

Newspaper employees work extremely hard to produce news and unique local content for their reading audience. They work long hours, withstand criticism and, occasionally, bask in the shadows of triumph.

But they don’t do it for free, nor should they.

We believe our news product is a good one, We believe it has value and we believe that value is worth something. It’s why we share links to our stories on Facebook and other social media — to draw attention to our work.

To receive the kind of journalism you expect costs money. Because we believe our product has value, we also believe that it is worth paying for. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be in this business in the first place.

So, the long and short of it is simple: Walmart does not give its products away for free and other small business here in Umatilla County don’t give their products and services away for free, either.

We ask you to pay for our news product because it has value.

If you believe in the concept of local news and deem that the body politic must be well-informed, then we hope you will support it by becoming a subscriber to the printed newspaper and/or a digital subscriber.

By the way, our new mobile app is free to download and will remain free to view during a trial period through the end of September. You can go here to download it: https://www.eastoregonian.com/apps/news_app/

From all of us who labor here at your local newspaper, we wish all our readers a truly happy and safe Labor Day weekend.

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