A Romenesko reader who saw yesterday’s post about Seattle Times journalists being asked to buy a digital subscription to read their own stories and get archives access sends this email:
I work at an EW Scripps paper in SC, Independent Mail, and we recently had to pay for a digital subscription. It’s necessary to do our jobs (posting stories, monitoring comments, research, etc).
We were not given, as the Seattle Times folks apparently were, an option to not buy the subscription. [At the Times, the paper will buy the subscription for staffers who can’t “for either financial or philosophical reasons.”] Our publisher told us it was mandatory. A proposal to put it on our company credit cards (it IS a business expense) was outright rejected by the publisher.
It was not well received. The only thing probably stopping the rage was that it was only $60, likely not worth the hassle of going to war. They tried to bribe us with a free umbrella and chip clips. [I’m told a chip clip is “a potato chip bag clip. Little plastic thingy.”]
It does not feel right that we should have to pay for the privilege of doing our jobs. I’m now wondering how many other journalists are being forced/coerced into goosing the stats and the revenue base.
UPDATE– An emailer writes: “I can say as a Scripps employee at a different, larger paper not only have I not had to pay for a digital subscription, I’ve been given paywall access to other Scripps papers for journalistic research purposes. Maybe that is just the case at that one paper, I’m not sure. But it’s not a company-wide policy, at least not yet.”