Acorn publishers: Paper’s free; digital has fee

Jim and Lisa Rule

Jim and Lisa Rule

Jim and Lisa Rule, 2017 Newspaper Executives of the Year, wrote to readers last week to announce that their five Acorn Newspapers print papers (in Agoura Hills, Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks) would remain free, but digital access would now have a meter and a subscription fee.

“You can’t fake real community journalism. Never have. Never will,” they wrote. “But dogged reporting — whether in print or online — comes at a rising cost, and instead of simply throttling back our editorial coverage as other outlets have in recent years, we’ve decided to ask you, the reader, to buy in.”

That digital access? $36 a year; $19.99 for early adopters.

“Print still has a place, and just as transportation didn’t come to an end when the horse and buggy died, neither will good journalism become extinct on the day that the final printing press stops,” the publishers said. “But let’s face it, millennials and post-millennials are hooked on their devices.”