If you're one of the folks who reads "South Jersey's newspaper"—the Courier-Post—online, perhaps you noticed a little something recently: A note at the bottom left of each article you click on counting down how many free articles you have left.
The countdown isn't unusual—virtually every one of Gannett's 80-some U.S. properties instituted a similar paywall this year. What is unusual is that the Courier-Post is among a minuscule minority that apparently chose not to notify its readers of this change online.
The announcements—complete with Gannett doublespeak referring to a "new subscription model" instead of a paywall and generally lacking any reference to an increase in prices—have been an ongoing subject of mockery at the Gannett Blog.
Even more interesting: While there is no notice from the Courier-Post on its own site about its plan to start charging readers to view articles online in addition to increasing the cost of the print product, you can read a notice on the C-P site from sister-newspaper the Vineland Daily Journal telling its Burlington, Camden and Gloucester county readers about its plans to "transition to a new subscription model."
The announcement explains that "if you’re not a subscriber, our news and information won’t be available for free on an unlimited basis like it is now," before—on page two—making it clear that all prices are rising for online, print and any combination of the two.
If you are interested in paying for the local news from the Courier, here are the price points to begin your efforts.
The paywall isn't the only change at the Courier-Post in recent weeks. In late October, General Manager Gene Williams retired and was replaced on an interim basis by Ellen Liefield, a former editor at Gannett's Nashville, TN, site.
The newspaper's five-paragraph welcome of the individual tasked with overseeing all aspects of coverage throughout a region with more than 1 million residents has been the only official mention of her presence. Her name does not appear on the online listings for the newspaper's editorial board.
If her email address or direct phone number are listed anywhere on the site, it is not readily apparent.
I have reached out to Courier-Post Managing Editor Leon Tucker to learn whether an article will be posted online regarding price hikes and whether Liefield's phone and email will be made public to allow South Jerseyans to contact her with questions and concerns.
I will update this post if he responds.