Here’s what you need to know
When COVID-19 hit Arizona, we posted our pandemic reports for free online to distribute life-changing updates widely and quickly.
You have rewarded us by subscribing to The Arizona Republic in record numbers.
When we published a detailed series on efforts to overturn Arizona’s vote for President and Senate, you again responded by subscribing in droves to read stories behind a paywall.
However, for those who are not subscribers, access has been limited. The counter on azcentral.com allows non-subscribers to read just five stories every 30 days.
Now, with these two lessons in mind, we’ve decided to eliminate this counter.
Starting Monday, access to free stories on azcentral.com will become unlimited, while our premium work will remain just that, subscriber-only. This “freemium” model means that 75% of what we produce every day will be available to everyone and 25% will be exclusive to readers who support our journalism with a subscription.
We believe this mix, initially, supports our mission to invest more deeply in reporting that eliminates fraud, waste and corruption, shines a light on long-standing issues and brings clarity in times of breaking news. time. Our growing digital subscriber base, combined with loyal print readers, gives us the opportunity to expand coverage of Arizona’s culinary scene and culture, schools and development, Suns basketball and high school sports – the heart of everyday life for many of us.
Our commitment to serving distinct, hyperlocal, and in-depth journalism to our subscribers is going nowhere.
And by providing more access to our reports for free, we will reconnect with potential readers who have been sidetracked by the limitations they have reached in the past. The change gives us a new opportunity to share our journalism with newcomers who haven’t yet developed an Arizona-based news habit. This gives us a chance to build trust in communities historically underserved and underserved by the Republic.
Some of these Arizonans know our journalism from popular podcasts: The Gaggle, Rediscovering and Valley 101, three shows that feature the best in political analysis, in-depth reporting and breaking news from The Republic.
Many met our reporters on azcentral’s YouTube channel, another destination where more than 80,000 people have subscribed to The Republic’s playlists or joined our online community.
They know us from our main Instagram page, where 115,000 of your friends and relatives follow our newsfeed and reels.
Or they know us from Beyond the Gridiron, a documentary video series that followed high school football teams through the ups and downs of their seasons. Or from our interactive social media stories that inform — and, on sites like TikTok, entertain.
Measured as a whole, our audience has never been greater. But many of them might not make azcentral.com an everyday destination. We aim to change that.
For three years we have been adding premium and free content on our website.
Removing some barriers to our work will allow us to accommodate more of these users on azcentral.com.
But for our loyal subscribers, note that the value of your subscription remains unchanged. Only you get access to our site’s premium stories every day, and this new model only reinforces that.
When we launch, over 1,000 stories we publish each month will be free.
Hundreds of other stories will be reserved for subscribers, who also have exclusive access to newsletters like “Your Week”. Any reader can sign up for push alerts on their computer and on our mobile app catering to their interest in sports, politics, and breaking news, among other topics.
These initiatives will bring The Arizona Republic to a subscription milestone, a milestone we will likely reach this year, with more digital subscribers than print subscribers.
This industry benchmark is increasingly common these days, with once-print-dominated newsrooms at The New York Times and The Boston Globe leading the transformation. The Wall Street Journal, another digital giant, has long been restricted to online subscribers.
The Republic’s journey has led to a healthy balance of subscriber and advertiser support and a more sustainable future for journalism – for our readers in print, on azcentral.com and other platforms.
This balance improves as the number of digital subscriptions increases. Think Hulu: Everyone is entitled to a selection of shows to watch, and subscribers can pay for premium access to original movies and series.
A key difference on azcentral.com is that our coverage of the environment, biosciences, housing and homelessness in Arizona is supported by grants from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, the Flinn Foundation, the Catena Foundation and from the Arizona Community Foundation. Our commitment to these partners is to publish this work for free. This commitment makes our premium model at azcentral all the more connected to the community we serve.
And the stories that will now be free and unlimited – just like in the early days of the pandemic – will continue to serve the whole community in times of need. It’s a value subscribers and non-subscribers can recognize.
Your investment in The Republic is essential to our success. You told us that reports that hold officials and institutions accountable are valuable to you. You told us that it is important to produce public health reports quickly. It’s our investment in you, increasingly digital and diverse readers.
Help us add to our exclusive subscriber experience by letting me know what you would find valuable. Send me your comments directly here.
Greg Burton is the editor of The Arizona Republic.