19th January 2017
The “cover price” of Cornwall Reports is to be less than 9 pence per day, following a successful Crowdfunding campaign which has secured the website’s future for at least the next three months.
From midnight on 31st January, new subscribers will be directed to a paywall which will offer a variety of payment models.
The best value is a £30 annual subscription, which equates to less than 9 pence per day – half the price of a local weekly newspaper, and nearly one tenth the price of a regional daily. Cornwall Reports is updated throughout the day.
Alternative tariffs, which might suit more casual readers, start at £1 per week. The Cornwall Reports project, which offers a quality news service, without adverts, is the first local news venture of its kind in Britain.
New subscribers will be able to read a maximum of five articles each month before they are asked to pay.
Supporters can continue to make donations via a button on the front page. Readers who donated to the Crowdfunding appeal, or who have already donated through the front page button, will automatically become subscribers without further payment. Unless they have requested anonymity, or indicated otherwise, their names will be included in a “Hall of Fame” to be published in the website shortly.
Plans for local news pages
Editor Graham Smith said he planned to introduce local news pages as soon as possible. “Cornwall Reports was designed to serve the whole of Cornwall, and there is no shortage of news stories which are sufficiently important to meet that criteria,” he said.
“But at the same time I recognise that people have a real appetite for more community-focussed stories. I am looking at ways to set up pages specifically for this kind of content. It might take several months. But it is definitely part of the plan.
”I think the Cornwall-wide news has to take priority. But the beauty of a local news website is that it can grow to become whatever we want – or can afford!”
The Cornwall Reports letters page is now open to contributors. At the moment, the website does not plan to publish “comments” on a story-by-story basis but will link to comments published on its dedicated letters page. Contributors will have to provide their real identity, and their town or village, but not a full address.
“There is no place for anonymous trolling on Cornwall Reports,” said Smith. “But I welcome comment and debate on any topic. So if readers wish to observe on anything we’ve published, or if they would like to raise a new issue, the letters page is the place to go.”
The Cornwall Reports finances do not yet stretch to hiring any staff, but Smith said he was keen to involve as many people as possible as the website grows. “Until a few months ago I had no idea how to design a website,” he said. “I’m sure most website professionals would look at my efforts and say that is still the case. But if anyone has appropriate skills, and would like to help, I’d be enormously grateful.
“It might be that someone has marketing expertise and can help us reach sales targets. It might be that someone is really good at using social media and can help promote Cornwall Reports that way. It might be that some skills are transferable and that somebody could help Cornwall Reports in other ways we might not have thought about yet.
“In the first instance, an email to firstname.lastname@example.org will at the very least get a grateful reply.”