I’m taking a moment to post a little local news here. Our Cedar Rapids city newspaper, The Gazette, is now offering its e-Edition for free. That means you can read the whole paper, front to back, on-line, for free, without needing a read hardcopy newspaper subscription.

I’m pretty happy about this, as I like getting stuff that I want for free. But I can’t help but wonder what inspired The Gazette to do this, and how they plan to afford it. One the one hand, they can now get advertisements to a larger audience, increasing ad revenue and making more money. But on the other hand, I would expect at least some people to cancel their newspaper subscriptions now. I know most people prefer to sit down with a newspaper in hand and enjoy it over breakfast or coffee or evening tea, but free is a big word.

So why offer your paper for free? Plenty of people in my generation (mid-twenties) and a significant majority of younger generations, are just fine with reading the paper on-line, and like I said above, wouldn’t read the paper at all if it wasn’t free like this. So maybe this is their way of taking up-and-coming generations of perspective ad-viewers that they’re not expecting to pay for the paper, and making sure they can still get ad revenue out of their readership. It seems to me to be an inevitable move to stay relevant along side the free on-line news sites that don’t offer a traditional paper newspaper.

Regardless of the reasons, way to go Gazette.

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