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Lee: Putting the squeeze on news junkies

I wish I could figure a way to charge you 20-cents every time you read this blog. Well, that ain’t going to happen until I talk with my powerful corporate sponsors. Oh, I forgot, I don’t have any. Just send check or money order for 20-cents to P.O. Box…

This is what you will see from now on when you try to read an online news article from any Lee Newspaper in Montana or Wyoming. As you know, the Bugle relies heavily on Montana papers to keep you up to date on what’s happening. Would you pay $60 a year to the Montana Standard to find out “Butte Kiwanis Sunshine Camp to Celebrate 125,000th Free Meal“. I thought not, neither would we. A yearly subscription to the five Lee papers would run you (or me) about $350.  So, you can expect to see a lot less Montana coverage in the Button Valley Bugle in coming days.

I guess you could run out and buy a paper copy of the Ravalli Republic or the Helena IR, if you know where to find one locally. Or, you could just pay the extortion and shut the hell up.

Partly this is an attempt to bring more dollars to an industry that has been struggling and I understand that, but it also shows that most of these corporate bigwigs don’t really understand how the Internets work. If you see something of interest on a Montana blog or website, you are likely to click on the link to the news article where you will be exposed to hundreds of annoying advertisements. Advertisers pay good money to expose their products to you online. When the links go away, so do the eyes that see their ads.

You could go to any of the online forums for each of the Lee papers and bitch and moan as hundreds of others are doing this morning, but your comments will likely get lost in the milieu. The better solution would be to write directly to the editors of the Lee papers and let them know that you are not happy with losing access to Montana news. If you want to express displeasure (or pleasure with paying the charges if that’s your opinion) here are some email addresses;

In the meantime, a good FREE source of Montana news online is the Topix Montana feed although I notice that they seem to have dropped the Lee papers coverage recently for some reason.

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4 Responses

  1. This move is the height of stupidity and trust me, the “paywall” does not always work. More proof that Lee has no business trying to be the sole source for Montana’s news.

    If you are in the Butte area, feel free to pick up the Butte Weekly. It’s been a free, advertiser-supported independent paper for 14 years and will continue to provide readers with news without charge. Sorry we don’t have an online version, but maybe someday we can convince the boss.

  2. […] Posts By Cowgirl, on August 3, 2011, 7:34 am | Discuss Can be found at the Flathead Memo and the Button Valley Bugle, who both write on the impact of Lee Newspapers new requirement that readers pay for online […]

  3. Just tonight, got home from doing yet another Farmer’s Market and was perusing the Billings Gazette site. Up popped the window you mentioned above, only the second time. When I hit “no thanks”… it crashed my computer!!
    I’d hate to think if I had a bunch of programs going, as is normal earlier in the day. If that caused me to lose data…
    As it was I called the Gazette and complained. Many years ago, back in the late 90’s, I briefly experimented with a subscription-based site. I quickly realized that model didn’t work, even for people that knew what they were doing along those lines!!
    Not much has changed…

  4. Precisely my thinking. I quoted this post on Flathead Memo.

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