Mining Journal online edition moves to subscription-only model

A significant change is coming to four of the Upper Peninsula’s daily newspapers. As ABC 10 senior reporter Mike Hoey shows us, some readers won’t be pleased, but advertisers and many longtime subscribers will probably be happy with it.

The Mining Journal of Marquette and the Daily Mining Gazette of Houghton are launching a revamped online edition on Wednesday. The Daily Press of Escanaba and the Daily News of Iron Mountain will do the same on Thursday.

“If you’re already a paid subscriber and you get home delivery, you get access right off the bat,” Mining Journal publisher Jim Reevs said. “It’s going to be a huge benefit for our advertisers to have that.”

Many readers have told Reevs for years that they’d be willing to pay for something like this. Snowbirds who spend much of the year in a climate warmer than the U.P.’s should be especially pleased.

“They’re frustrated sometimes; our mail delivery is not the greatest,” Reevs said. “When we get the newspaper to the post office every day, sometimes it takes weeks to get it down there. Now they get full access to the newspaper the same day, at the same time that local people do.”

The Mining Journal’s online edition has not included everything that could be found in the print version. It now will, but a paywall will prevent people from being able to read the entire paper online for free.

“I’ve had a few (people who have been reading the paper that way) tell me, ‘well, it’s not going to cost much because you don’t have the newsprint cost or the delivery cost’, but we still have the cost of producing the newspaper,” Reevs said. “Whether we put it out digitally or if we put it out in newsprint, it’s still a cost involved with it.”

The four papers aren’t going to stop print publication, unlike what’s happened at some big-city papers in recent years.

“In rural areas like this, the print product and what a newspaper offers is still a huge asset to the communities,” Reevs said. “In metro markets, if they had two papers, one of them closed down, but there’s been no discussion of that. We still have a very strong base that get home delivery and we still expect that to continue well into the future.”

The Mining Journal, the Daily Press, the Daily Mining Gazette and the Daily News are owned by Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, West Virginia. Many of the company’s papers have launched similar digital editions recently.