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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.

Gunther Schaller


Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(9) comments

A Dodger

As with anything new, people resist to change because their comfort level is not what it was. I m sure the WDT is feeling the same way and will do their very best to reach the widest audience they can with this new digital format and I hope they listen to subscribers and make tweaks here and there to give people the best bank for their bucks. I think they will. Comments are part of the social experience of today and some may not post as much as they did in the past but perhaps they will again. I do believe the WDT has done an incredible job of making the entire paper available online and the subscription rate is very reasonable. I do think that the powers that be at the WDT will listen to readers content and make adjustments to make the site easier to navigate and also to gain more subscribers. They had to start somewhere and I am glad they did this.


In your rave review of the new format you forgot to mention the high quality investigative reporting and the inspiring editorials. I am glad you are getting your best bank (sic) for your buck.


The most amazing thing to me is that they kicked off the digital edition with an editorial from Kevin Beary evaluating all the Democratic candidates on the basis of skin color. Literally. Beary evaluated each one on skin tone. In the year 2019. Has anybody at the WDT heard the "I have a Dream" speech? Amazing they ran an openly and obviously racist editorial to launch the new edition.


I suspect they are giving him plenty of rope just to point out what kind of person he is so everybody knows in case he ever tries to run for office again.


Author nailed it.... One wonders what research was made with your viewers when the format changes were made.... Any metrics of reader comments has to reflect a substantial drop in responses to articles...there are many "commenters" missing now who previously always responding to certain types of articles... It lacks the thumbs up/down on reader comments...counts of replies...counts of responses to individual responses... button to edit comments after posting for errors/changes...and as you mentioned, having to scroll through the standard array of advertising you see on most sites to get to your comments... Post the advertising on the borders like the rest of the sites that provide news... keeping the flow of the article and replies in tact. I've commented on this before, the editor responded indicating it would be passed on ... One hopes you seriously consider making adjustments.... if you don't your readers will...


Keeping my comments to the permitted number of words has kept me from addressing the legality of reducing the number of papers I paid for without getting a partial refund. Another issue might be the legality of name of the paper " Watertown DAILY Times". It's no longer a daily. Perhaps dropping the "DAILY" would do the job. After all, the New York Times can do without it, even though it does publish on a daily basis.


I was not surprised that the Monday edition was chosen to be dropped. I have commented for many years, that there is NO NEWS (OK, very little news) on Mondays. The primary news-makers and news-writers take the weekend off. The thickness of the Monday edition reflected that. Monday's edition was a logical choice to reduce costs, with minimal impact to readers.


Thumbs up, Gracie02. The Reader's comments (like the cook's comments on a recipe site) are as precious as the original article writer's. It is that give-and-take that truly brings out the full conversation on a particular issue. And having to scroll through all that "nonsense" at the bottom of the page to get to the serious work of the editorial page is insane. Your prior format kept the preponderance of advertising to each side of the articles, as in the print edition. My thought is that if you keep your reader's happy, then your advertisers will also be happy.


One wonders if these posts are read by the editors...and at least considered... and commented on...

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