The Fresno Bee, Merced Sun-Star, Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Registrar have been delivering news to readers for decades. In recent times, they've made newspapers more relevant by providing content on their websites. But unlimited access to their websites will now cost a fee. The Fresno Bee and Merced Sun-Star made the announcement, Tuesday.
“We'll have an option for digital only subscribers who only want the newspaper in digital form with their tablet, smart phones, or PC. We also have an opportunity for our longtime subscribers print subscribers to opt out if they choose,” said Fresno Bee Vice President of Custom Publications & Public Affairs, Valerie Bender.
Bender said they're not giving up on the print product, they're basically offering people an opportunity to get both. She added, “That content is not free elsewhere. Our newspaper provides more in depth coverage than anything you could get anywhere else. You’re not going to get the investigative reporting, the data base journalism, you're not going to get the blogging.”
Fresno resident Scott Wilkinson expressed, “We get our information online. We learn a lot from online: schooling, sports, classifieds. I don't think we should pay for this at all.”
“I can understand the reasoning for it. Reporters need to get paid and it makes a lot of sense. I don't know if I would pay for the Fresno Bee necessarily but I can understand people who pay a fee for a newspaper,” said Fresno resident, Iris Pedowitz.
The Fresno Bee is charging customers 99 cents for a trial period. After that, customers will be charged about $7 a month for the digital only package. Print subscribers will be charged an extra $2.60 a month to get both print and digital.
The Visalia Times-Delta, Merced Sun-Star and Tulare Advance-Registrar are offering similar subscriptions.
The Fresno Bee and Merced Sun-Star are owned by the McClatchy Company. In the past several years, it's seen a decline in advertising revenue. Three years ago, the Fresno Bee had to lay off 63 employees.