Rollie Atkinson

Effective June 3, we will require all our website visitors to log in with their email and password to read the newspaper online. Online-only subscriptions will be $5 a month.
As we’ve been telling our news audiences for the past few years, the business of newspapers and reporting local news are facing historical challenges. Thousands of newspapers across America have died, and many towns and cities have become marooned in what are now being called “news deserts.” The loss of journalism jobs has led to communities with no government watchdogs, no local sports coverage and no reliable source to help sort through public conflicts, controversies and celebrations.

This newspaper continues to fight mightily against all the factors caused by the digital disruption of social media channels, the evaporation of advertising revenues and the public’s increasing distraction due to information overload. We have been left with fewer resources and the increasing need to be more things for more people.  
Our small company, Sonoma West Publishers, has received much encouragement from our new community investors, loyal subscribers and advertising partners. But we must continue to innovate and attract more financial support. The innovations will come from our use of new technology to strengthen our journalism offerings. The financial support required must come from you, our readers, community partners and fellow local business owners.
We know that a major portion of our local community members want a local newspaper to call their own. We believe enough local businesses find our local news audience worthy enough to place paid advertising in front of them. This is a time-tested model that has made this newspaper an essential institution. Like other institutions and norms of our democracy, our task today is now one of survival. We remain confident we will succeed, but we need to hear that from you.
This newspaper is best when more people are using it. More paid readers and more advertisements let us print more news and more pages. We continue to invest in new tech improvements for our website and digital information and marketing services. Already, this has led to more people reading our local news online than they do in print. The trouble for us is that many digital readers read us for free online. We can no longer afford that — no newspaper that relies on subscriptions can.
Effective June 3, we will require all our website visitors to log in with their email and password to read the newspaper online. We will never share, publish or sell anyone’s email. We promise.
Our print subscribers will have full access to the website as always, as will our online-only subscribers. But the thousands of visitors who’ve been reading our news for free online for the last two years will have to buy a subscription if they want to continue reading our paper.  
Our subscription price has not changed. Annual $60 print subscriptions include home delivery of a newspaper plus full access to our website. Online-only subscriptions are just $5 a month. When a large coffee or latte can cost $4 and more, we think a whole month of local news for just $5 is more than just a great bargain; it’s almost a steal.
No doubt, we will have some glitches to work through so we ask for your patience. We are small and can’t offer 24/7 help desk service like Amazon or other internet giants. Your readership is of high value to us. Our website, circulation and office support staff are here to help you.
If would like help registering to read the paper online (or if you’re already registered but have forgotten your password), call Cherie Kelsay at 707-894-3339 or email her at [email protected]. She’s also our subscription person, so if you’d like to subscribe, feel free to either contact Cherie or simply subscribe online at
Thank you for being part of our local news conversation. We don’t want to imagine the day when that conversation might go silent.
— Rollie Atkinson

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