CHESTERTOWN — The Kent County News and its sister Mid-Shore weeklies will unveil a new look Monday, June 6 for their umbrella website, www.myeast ernshoremd.com, that will make reading local stories even easier on mobile devices.
The Kent County News also is bringing back its old web address, www.thekentcountynews.com, taking readers to a homepage dedicated to the important news affecting Kent County.
The update of the websites’ TownNews platform features bolder photos, which are easier to flip through, and automatic resizing depending on the device accessing the site.
In conjunction with the update, the newspapers’ publishing company, APG Media of Chesapeake, has decided to move online content to a paywall system with some exceptions.
Editors have the ability to put breaking news that impacts the community’s safety and stories that help readers understand meaningful events outside the paywall. The editors also will select other features regularly to stand outside of the paywall, free for anyone to view.
At the same time, the paywall will help the newspapers retain revenue in a still recovering local market.
Print subscribers will continue to have free access to the newspaper’s online content under the new model, and will only have to sign up for an account. Those who don’t currently have an account for www.myeastern shoremd.com but have a print subscription are encouraged to enroll.
Additional online subscription options are:
• Online-only access for one month, auto-renew: $2.99
• Online-only access for one day, subscribe or renew: 99 cents
• Online-only access for one month, subscribe or renew: $5.99.
A one-year, in-county print subscription to the Kent County News with mail delivery is $32, and includes full access to www.myeasternshoremd.com and www.thekentcountynews.com. A six-month, in-county print subscription, also with full online access, is $20.
Since installing the paywall model last month, sister publication the Cecil Whig has already gained a few hundred subscriptions. While some may believe that advertisements should pay for an all-free online model, the truth is that online advertising revenue, especially for community newspapers like the Cecil Whig, Star Democrat and Kent County News continues to be very small when compared to print advertising.
Historically, subscriptions merely helped subsidize the cost of delivery to a reader’s home, whereas advertisements have paid the salaries of those who write, edit, paginate and print the work. While subscriptions have plateaued and more readers seek free online alternatives, however, the cost of distribution only rises in today’s world.