I have very mixed feelings about the new business model of the Watertown Daily Times. I liked the previous electronic edition and read it before going out each morning to get the hard copy. It took me a while to get used to the new format. And I must confess that it has more to offer than the previous model, although it is not very intuitive.
Dropping the Monday print edition is a bad move. Combining Saturday and Sunday into one edition might have been more logical.
The rationale provided at the time that Monday editions did not attract many advertisers goes to the heart of the matter. The paper no longer serves two audiences, readers and advertisers. Readers have become just eyeballs to attract advertisers, which makes the change to paid access to the digital edition even harder to understand.
I get it that actual paper, trucking, etc., costs money. Other than higher capacity servers, there are no costs in scaling digital access. If you want to deliver an audience to your primary customer base, the advertisers, it would make sense to connect as many eyeballs as possible. A free access does that.
The emphasis on advertising has among other things resulted in relegating comments to the bottom of the page, separated by “Recommended for you” and “You may like,” off-ramp vehicles to take readers somewhere else. I have spot checked the comments to articles that would in the past have generated dozens of responses, and it is the rare exception that yields a result.
It’s obvious from your decision to drop the Monday edition and the manner readers are pushed into a virtual broom closet that advertising dollars are what drives your new management philosophy. In my not so humble opinion, that’s putting the cart before the horse. In a recent editorial, you lamented the passing of a newspaper. It could have been a first draft of your own obituary.