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The Western News introduces new digital access model

by Rick Weaver
| February 6, 2018 3:00 AM

As the publisher of your community newspaper, I am partly in the business of reporting on change, and nothing has changed more than the news business in the past two decades.

Technology has made information a 24/7 business — and competition between internet, cable, satellite and traditional news media has meant that our newspaper has had to change with the times. We look different than we did 20 years ago. We distribute news differently than we did 10 years ago. Our front page is different than it was last week.

What hasn’t changed is our commitment to provide readers with valuable local news and advertisers with a quality reach. At Hagadone Montana Publishing, we have the biggest and best news team in Northwest Montana. Advertisers are connecting with the largest, most engaged audience in our area. No other print or news website in your local area has our reach.

This is a great newspaper market, but we need your help. Our readers and advertisers combined give us the ability to continue publishing a quality newspaper well into the future. We know from talking to you that our content is valuable in your daily life, and it’s something that for decades, our print readers have been willing to pay for. That’s important, because, as with any business, providing a quality product requires investment and support. Many of our readers have also supported our paper by subscribing to our e-edition, the virtual paper that provides an exact replica of the print edition on your home computer or the electronic device of your choosing.

Just as our loyal print readers have paid for newspapers all these years, our digital users will begin paying as we introduce a new subscription model starting Monday, Feb. 12.

You might ask, what if I’m already a print subscriber? No problem. Home delivery customers will continue to receive full digital access, including the e-edition newspaper, as part of their subscription at no extra cost. If you’re already a print subscriber, you can activate your digital subscription online. Just click on the subscriptions link at www.thewesternnews.com and then select “log-in.” Choose the button that says “Click here to activate” and search by name or phone number for your account. If you need help, call our circulation department at 406-755-7018 or email circ@dailyinterlake.com.

How does this new model work? Readers can view up to five articles free every 30 days. For access beyond that threshold, digital-only readers are required to subscribe for just $44 a year, or just 12 cents a day. That’s access to full news stories with updates, photos and niche products. The Western News comes out twice a week, so you will get plenty to read.

Locals and newcomers alike have learned that we provide a significant volume and depth of quality local reporting across our family of print and digital products. This investment and service to our community has great value. In fact, no other media organization employs more journalists or employees in Northwest Montana than the Hagadone Montana group, led by our flagship newspaper, the Daily Inter Lake.

As you know, we’re deep in local news that tackles important issues, keeps people informed, celebrates achievements, brings people together and looks after your tax dollars.

In the past few years, our staff has improved the newspaper’s print and website design, added new features and forged stronger community partnerships while continuing to produce valued investigative journalism.

Print is not dead, regardless of what some might say. Our reach has never been greater when combined with digital. It’s about engagement, which no other mass media vehicle can offer. Newspaper media companies will continue to prosper via a strategy where print and digital coexist through the secure and intimate nature of print and the real-time convenience of digital. Anywhere. Anytime.

On behalf of the entire Hagadone Montana Publishing team, thank you for your business. You’re the reason we’re optimistic about the future.