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A humble ‘thank you’ to those buying access to the Enterprise

According to Google Analytics, the Enterprise had more than 3.5 million page views and 700,000 users from November 2018 through October 2019.

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Thank you.

Newspapers, historically, have not said that enough to their customers.

In late October, the Park Rapids Enterprise website went behind a paywall, along with our sister newspapers that are part of the Forum Communications Company. This means that readers get free access to three stories, then will start paying a subscription fee to read more.

We realize that some readers may feel apprehensive about that word “pay” in paywall. Change is hard, especially after we’ve given away our product online for so long. Many of us were nervous, too. Would people be willing to pay for our journalism?

But this makes sense when you consider the time and effort that goes into producing the high-quality, localized content that’s on our website and in our printed products. Our reporters go to events or meetings or interview sources, do background research, double-check facts and take photos before they even begin writing stories. Crafting a good story also takes time – honing in the details, making sense of complicated sets of facts, writing a compelling lead and being fair and accurate all through the process.

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Newspapers, remember, are a business. We’re not tax supported. Like any business, we have a bottom line to meet. In the past, community newspapers relied heavily on local advertisers to make a profit, but the landscape has changed. While local advertisers are still key to our business, it’s vital for us to seek support from those engaging in our content so we can keep telling the stories of our community.

The future, one that is mostly digital, is clear. The daily journalism you read is headed toward a world in which it is accessed mostly on computers, tablets and phones.

Membership has its perks

The paywall will allow us to continue giving away a limited amount of content for free, while encouraging those who consume the most content to support our efforts in exchange for membership perks and incentives, including:

  • Unlimited, unrestricted access to quality journalism content across more than 30 news and niche content sites within the Forum Communications four-state network. This list includes not only large, daily publications, such as The Forum, Brainerd Dispatch and the Duluth News Tribune, but also several newspapers around the region – the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Wadena Pioneer Journal, Alexandria Echo Press, Bemidji Pioneer and more.

  • Access to the electronic replicas or “E-Paper” of any of our newspapers on any device.

  • The ability to tap into community history through archived content.

  • Invitations to live members-only events.

  • Exclusive deals and discounts.

  • E-newsletters and breaking news alerts.

  • A print subscription comes standard with an e-membership – so when you travel south for the winter, you can keep your e-paper active while putting a hold on your home delivery.

Getting started with your new digital-access membership is easy. If you’re already a subscriber, you can activate your account by going to parkrapidsenterprise.com/activate and clicking on the “Activate Now” button. Follow two more steps to unlock your benefits.

Newspapers ARE being read

If you’ve been a loyal subscriber to the Park Rapids Enterprise, thank you. Your support means so much to each and every one one of us at the paper. We are humbled and heartened.

We believe we provide the best, in-depth local news, plus breaking news, headlines from throughout the state, photos, videos, archives, polls, weather, links to the speciality magazines we publish – things you simply won’t get through Facebook or social media or anywhere else.

There are detractors who claim “nobody reads newspapers anymore.” That has never been true and, given online access to daily newspaper content, is even less so today. People are reading newspapers, just in a different way than they did historically. According to Google Analytics, from November 2018 through October 2019, the Enterprise had 3,520,292 page views and 711,557 users.

The CEO of Forum Communications, Bill Marcil Jr., describes this new era as journalism in its prime.

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“I see technology and reporting coming together to deliver better content, faster,” Marcil said. “I believe in the future of this company and the future of news today more than ever because as technology continues to change, so do we.

“We’re reinvesting into our newsrooms to better cover our regions, adding to our video capabilities and upgrading our news websites. We’re publishing news stories as they happen and focusing on delivering content in whichever format our readers want it. And we’re doing this all with one core value in mind: journalistic integrity – a standard that is rare but more important than ever in our social media-frenzied world.”

Thank you for your patience with these online changes. We at the Enterprise feel they are the beginning of exciting things to come.

What To Read Next
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This guest editorial was written by the Alexandria Echo Press, a Forum Communications Co. newspaper.