To be continued: News Virginian cuts online news

news-fullstory1This graphic informs readers on the Waynesboro News Virginian's website that they're only getting part of the story.

As daily newspapers' sales plummet nationwide, editors and publishers are employing myriad strategies to stay afloat as readers increasingly turn to the Internet for their news. Now, the Waynesboro News Virginian is testing a new strategy to drive readers from its free website back to buying the hard copy.

On Monday, April 27, the News Virginian posted a story about a parent's complaint about lewd music at a middle school dance on its website, corresponding with the same article which appeared in its print edition. However, after the fourth paragraph on the web version of the story, readers find a message that informs them that the text they're reading is only "an excerpt"and instructs them to "pick up The News Virginian today at an area newsstand to get the full story."

"It's an experiment," says News Virginian editor Lee Wolverton. "We're toying with it and trying it on a few stories to see if it will drive sales."

However, Wolverton says that online readers feeling deprived will still be able to get the whole story online, just not right away.

"We're embargoing the rest of certain stories for a day," says Wolverton. "Hopefully it will get more people to buy it off the newsstand."

The News Virginian and the Charlottesville Daily Progress are both owned by Richmond-based Media General. The company has seen its stock prices drop by 91 percent in the last seven months, leading to layoffs at several Media General publications, including the Daily Progress. Still, Daily Progress managing editor McGregor McCance says the News Virginian's strategy is not a company-wide initiative and that the DP's online readers won't see a change like this–- yet.

"I think it's pretty cool," says McCance. "I hope it works for them, and if it does, maybe we'll try it."

Already, local blogger and media commentator Waldo Jaquith has given the move his thumbs-up.

"It’s actually a sensible strategy," writes Jaquith on his blog, "because it drives readers to where the advertising (and copy-sales) dollars are. This might have been a foolish move a few years ago, but now newspapers are in such dire financial straits that it seems well worth a try."

–updated April 28 at 10:11am


Interesting. Certainly not the solution, but interesting.
Equally distressing. You should check out the Grey Television share price. Probably in more dire straits than MG. Sad.

Yeah, that will work since there are no other sources to get the whole story people will run out and buy the paper. Yeah that will work!

I don't see anyone running out and buying a paper unless its really big news and they want to keep it to show their kids. People have been evolving better tools for 10,000 years now, why can't we move on from this old form of news delivery to the new one?

Many people don't have computers and there are still large swaths of the US without broadband internet service

What's wrong with grey television rog? Are they in trouble?

Sue you are right, many people don't have computers and there ARE large swarths of the US without broadband, but there is old dialup which is quicker than newspaper. But, most of all I forgot that the story a newspaper writes is their OWN and nobody can report missing piece from the internet newspaper. Especially by competators!! Come on, if it's in the paper it will be on TV, radio, internet, word of mouth and in so many other ways. To think the public will run out immediately to get the story from the newspaper is like thinking that we are not in economic trouble. "There's no place like home, there's no place like home". Think about it, we are in the future and newspapers are the past.

Boston may be the next City to have to read their news online. New York Times owner of the Boston Globe reports it's losing 1 million dollars a day on the Globe and is moving toward shutting it down.

Time for a HOOK franchise in Waynesboro

Rog, certainly better than nothing and could definetly enliven this place

Who’s following the money? Fewer reporters than ever
By Bob Gibson

"Virginia has been a relatively clean state politically for at least the past 60 years, but when newspapers and other major media cut back routine coverage of who is influencing our government to do what, then there is no guarantee the state will stay clean."

Oh my God, another pedestrian was hit last night and the hook failed to report it! Have we finally moved on to real news and real reporting now??

Reporting pedestrian accidents has been an important service for the community and I hope the Hook will give us the details

hey, Wow, was a police car involved again? I would hate to think we have another police vehicle related pedestrain event. They've already done 1 death, 1 direct hit to a wheelchair, and an almost direct hit on a couple down ear the mall.