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Verde Independent/Camp Verde Bugle converting news website to subscription-based access May 20

Beginning May 20, The Verde Independent and Camp Verde Bugle websites will feature a new look and simultaneously verdenews.com will become a subscription-based news delivery service. (Photo illustration/Verde Independent)

Beginning May 20, The Verde Independent and Camp Verde Bugle websites will feature a new look and simultaneously verdenews.com will become a subscription-based news delivery service. (Photo illustration/Verde Independent)

The Verde Independent and its companion news products publish an average of 80 stories per week. From public affairs news reporting to community happenings, letters to the editor, announcements, videos, photographs, and more, The Verde Independent has been the region’s news leader since 1948.

Our journalists take pride in what they do for the community each day. The work that goes into gathering, fact-checking and publishing those stories is of great importance to us, and we strive to make them interesting and useful for the people who live here. Maintaining such an effort, every day, takes a significant investment.

So, beginning May 20, only digital and print subscribers will be able to fully access all news stories and features on verdenews.com and cvbugle.com.

“Since the beginning of online news delivery, most newspapers posted their digital content for free,” said Verde Valley Newspapers, Inc. Publisher Babette Cubitt. “That model is not sustainable for a business to provide the kind of quality independent journalism a community needs and expects.”

Richard Haddad, news and digital content director for Western News&Info, Inc. (WNI), the Independent’s parent company, compared this change to taking your car to a local repair shop.

“A professional mechanic might be able to provide a small service for free, but to expect them to always fix your car at no charge is not going to keep a good mechanic in town, or provide you with consistent, reliable service when you need it,” Haddad said. “It’s common-sense economics that an outdated business model should adapt to maintain stability and quality.”

While many newspapers have made the switch to subscription-based websites years ago, smaller community newspapers have been looking for other ways to support vital newsroom operations. Some newspapers have turned to requiring readers to fill out third-party survey questions and other forms before reading a story. Others have sold what is sometimes called “advertorial” news stories, which is news content paid for and controlled by a company to promote their own goods and services.

“We don’t want to dilute the value of our news reporting or create an unfriendly reader environment by using tricks and gimmicks on our websites,” Haddad said. “After years of researching trends and alternatives, we came back to the logic of selling good value. What our journalists produce is as important and useful as any other professional service in town, whether it’s a mechanic, dentist or contractor.”

“I watch the local newsroom team work hard every day, striving to give our readers their best and taking pride in what they do,” Cubitt said. “It’s a service worth paying for.”

The Verde Independent newsroom will continue to focus on local news, Cubitt continued. However, with this website change, verdenews.com also will expand its online coverage by offering more local, regional and state news, videos, photo galleries, interactive graphics, online maps, audio extras and more.

In addition, all website subscribers will have full access to the Verde Independent’s e-edition website and archives that allows readers to view searchable, 3D page-flip versions of the newspaper pages as they were printed.

“This is another step forward in the evolution of your primary local news provider. It’s not going to be popular with everyone, but we’re confident most of our readers understand the need for a business to improve and evolve in order to grow with the community,” said Cubitt.

What you need to know

Beginning May 20, those desiring to continue reading the complete online news editions on verdenews.com can register on the website and select from several affordable subscription offers that provide unlimited access.

Current print edition subscribers can receive a free digital subscription after May 20 by activating their login at VerdeFree.com.

The homepage of the websites will still be visible to all visitors, along with obituaries, classified ads and public safety or community alert stories that will remain free. In addition, Kudos and Villager content will continue to be free. But the majority of daily news reports and other content will require users to purchase a subscription before viewing.

New subscribers can choose to purchase digital-access-only, or combination print-plus-digital packages.

Monthly and yearly digital-only rates for subscribers will range from $2.50 per month to $28 for a full year. There will also be single-day passes available for the occasional visitor at 99 cents per day.

Verde Valley Newspapers, Inc., publishes The Verde Independent, Camp Verde Bugle, Kudos and The Villager.

For more information about this change, visit our frequently asked questions page at VerdeNews.com/faq.

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