There's no such thing as a free piece of pie. Someone has to pay for it somewhere in the process.
There's no such thing as a free piece of pie. Someone has to pay for it somewhere in the process. Kolbz

Getting your piece of the pie at the expense of others

CAN you imagine if there was a food shortage so Hanks bakery gave away a pie to every person as a community gesture in its time of need. A noble gesture and much appreciated by the hungry hordes, no doubt. But imagine a few weeks later another food shortage struck, and then another.

Hanks would soon go broke giving away pies every time disaster struck so they stop doing it. But the expectation for free pies is still there, so it wouldn't be long before Hanks was condemned for cutting off the supply.

Others might retaliate by trying to get a free, lesser quality pie elsewhere, or simply make their own pie but there's a certain knack and effort involved in doing that, to bring all the ingredients together, get the recipe just right and deliver it in timely fashion for less than $5.

The Daily Examiner's online content currently costs about $1* for a week of accessing as many stories as you can digest on its website. Sure, some won't be to your liking but a lot will be, there are about 100 local stories produced every week by Daily Examiner journalists. Even if you enjoy or learn something new from just one story a day, that's about 20c to read it. Whether it's the latest on natural disasters or traffic incidents, finding out who the best mechanic in town is or whose anti-social behaviour has landed them in front of the magistrate this week - it's a price effective exercise in the grand scheme of consumerism.

But wait, there's more. You will also get to stickybeak at events you haven't got the time or inclination to attend, from the comfort of your armchair because a photojournalist will spend a few hours, often at night or over the weekend, interviewing people and taking pics and uploading them into a convenient gallery so you can flick through and see who wore what or who was out on the town that night. Um, that'll be 20c, thanks.

Sure there's some less local fillers that crop up to fill the void in the online 24/7 news cycle but much as the nationally funded ABC has to repeat their stories over and over to fill the constant demand, the Daily Examiner needs to rely on its broader network news to keep the demand for fresh content ticking over.

Repeating the same stories over and over is not an option in newspaperland.

Like most wage earners, journalists are paid an hourly rate, so complaining about spending a few cents to see their hard work could be seen as a deflating experience for them.

Thanking them for their free emergency stories looks wonderful in the comments section but refusing to support them by paying 20c a day to read their non-emergency stories quickly extinguishes that praise.

With that in mind, you don't need to thank The Daily Examiner for free emergency stories - thank subscribers who subsidise them for you. The people who subscribe for about $1 a week support the team who produce these free stories that still need to be sourced, written, compiled and uploaded and monitored by paid journalists.

Without subscribers there would be no stories - free or otherwise.

And by all means, if you do know of a business willing to offer free products or services on an ongoing basis please let us know. Let us know how they can provide a viable and reliable service to consumers without any costs involved and we will quickly jump on that bandwagon.

Otherwise it's about $1* a week (a fifth of a pie) to read all the local and in-depth news created on the ground here in the Clarence by Daily Examiner journalists every day.

If you genuinely believe that's too high a price to pay to access all levels of news happening in your community than feel free to keep your 20c worth to yourself.

For what it is worth, here's some of what just over a $1 a week will give you access to:

  • Specialist items written on the ground in the Clarence by DEX editorial team expressing facts and viewpoints from various local voices;
  • Coverage of local disasters such as fire or flood (journalists on the ground with digital support back at the office to get the news up quickly);
  • Coverage of crime like the John Edwards trial and weekly local court attendance (journalist spends hours sifting through court lists and attending sittings to analyse and present outcomes in digestible fashion for readers);
  • Stories about locals celebrating milestones in their lives (journalists visit people in their homes to talk about and record their personal stories);
  • Stories about what Clarence Valley Council is up to (journalist spends hours listening to council meetings and dissecting a lot of dialogue to come up with succinct stories that impact on community);
  • Stories and latest club news about just about every sport played in the Clarence (journalists attend games, photograph, interview and write reports and colourful stories);
  • Schools, community groups and sporting clubs provide their latest news which is then processed by journalists including sourcing of relevant photos ready for publishing;
  • Opinion pieces by locals (broad range of voices willing to say things publicly that you agree with, don't agree with or have never really thought about before but may now);
  • Massive galleries so you can have a good ol' stickybeak;
  • Special projects like Cowper Podcast (free thanks to subscribers) and its accompanying revealing feature stories;
  • Breaking news: from bushfires to burning Kewpie dolls to traffic crashes and anything else you really want to know about as it happens;
  • Special publications like Clarence+ and On Track magazines featuring extensive articles and specialist content(these premium products brought to you free by the support of advertisers serviced by our sales staff);

We like to think a daily newspaper helps people stay engaged with their community in a convenient one-stop kind of way, convenience that we hope is worth forking out a dollar a week or $2.50 if you enjoy the production values of print. (There is something to be said about flicking through the newspaper on Saturday morning over the breakfast table).

As you can glean, this isn't a management-style manifesto or desperate plea for sales or some PR trickery, it's plain speaking, factual, grassroots explanation from one of the grassroots who contributes to the ticking over of this 160-year-old masthead.

And yes this article is free, because I know the audience I'm speaking to.

Thanks to our subscribers for the opportunity to get this complimentary message out there.

*To subscribe to The Daily Examiner online visit click here

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