GREEK philosopher Heraclitus is widely credited with coining the phrase, “the only thing that’s constant is change”.
It was true more than 2000 years ago and it remains, more than ever, true today.
We’ve seen that first-hand at the Ararat Advertiser this week as we introduced a local news subscription package for our website, meaning anyone who wants to read more than just the headlines needs to pay.
It’s not a new concept. For 160 years, our newspaper has had a cover price. Introducing subscriptions for website access is a natural and necessary evolution for the Ararat Advertiser in a digital world, and allows our audiences to choose the way they want to support us.
We’ve worked hard to get the message out there that this change was coming and the positive support we’ve received from members of the community has been humbling.
It’s been a pleasure talking to people who care deeply about our region – just like we do. And we are greatly encouraged by the support of our new digital subscribers.
Of course, after publishing our local journalism online for years, it’s only natural that some people might baulk at the prospect of now paying for it. This has led to some ill-informed comments on social media.
We’ve had some people who think because our news is on Facebook, it should be free. Combined, Coca Cola and Netflix have more than 150 million followers on Facebook to promote their products – but that doesn’t mean people can watch movies for free with a complimentary can of soft drink.
Good community journalism costs money. There is a cost involved in sending a reporter to a council meeting on a Tuesday night, or to the courthouse on a Wednesday, or to the football on a weekend.
While this change might have seemed sudden to some, in truth we here at the Ararat Advertiser have been building towards it for several years. It is a major step for our business, and we can assure you the decision has not been taken lightly.
While Heraclitus was right with “the only thing that’s constant is change”, it is also worth noting French journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s quote, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.
We remain fiercely determined to tell great stories about the wonderful people in our communities.
We did that this week, just as we have been doing every week for 160 years.