By 1812Blockhouse

News for free. It’s something we’ve been offering Richland Countians since 1812Blockhouse went live back in 2016.

Recently, however, it’s also a status which has become rather unique in these parts.

As consumers of news and information in Richland County are aware, for some time the majority of the county’s media sites have been behind what is typically called a “paywall.” If you want to read an article, with few exceptions, you are required to purchase a subscription.

The main purpose of paywalls is, of course, to generate revenue for the content creators. Historically, newspapers also had subscriptions or a price per copy. The Mansfield News Journal and Shelby Daily Globe utilize this model.

The one outlier to this, in addition to 1812Blockhouse, has historically been Richland Source. That site, the second independent online news site in the area when it launched, has historically been free and accessible to all without requirements of any kind.

That fact changed recently when Richland Source put much of its content behind a “registration wall,” a device which requires readers to give that company an email address for access. This allows the publisher to collect first-party data about the user, such as their email address and content preferences. This is why Richland Source stories now contain a “(R)” when we link to them.

In other words, it’s a another path toward generating revenue.

A shout out here to WMFD, which remains freely accessible but which does necessarily provide daily updates on a regular basis. Because of WMFD’s accessibility, we provide it priority status in terms of linking and it constitutes the “kind of” in the headline above.

Revenue is important in the publishing industry; it’s what makes journalism possible. That shared, the type of revenue creation used by a media site can have an impact on trust and transparency issues.

Consider this true story example.

For years, a newspaper in a nearby community had an office on the main street of town. It was an ideal location for the paper to interface with its readers, both physically and through its pages. Beautiful, large plate glass windows allowed passers-by to watch journalists hard at work.

At least they should have been able to see them.

Instead, the window ledges inside contained partitions and large plants which provided a visual barrier to those who happened by. 

The barrier sent a message.

For the time being, and as long as we can afford to do so, 1812Blockhouse will continue to offer No Walls News. No paywall here and no registration wall here. Instead we rely on the generosity of our readers to both click our ads and also contribute to our operation to survive and grow to better serve our readers.

Image by Robert Owen-Wahl from Pixabay

Send us your news — of an announcement, event,
club news, fundraiser – whatever! It’s easy to do online.

Become a 1812Blockhouse Newsroom Member, support independent media in Richland County, and get access to the new Super Richland! Details here.
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