In a desperate bid to stop their revenue free-fall, the Orange County Register announced today the debut of a new paywall to replace the one it erected about a year ago, the one that owners swore would be impenetrable but has become increasingly porous as of late.
This new paywall promises to revolutionize the newspaper industry, says Register Minister of Information Eric Morgan: it's going to be "freer."
A free paywall? Let Morgan explain.
It's a beaut of a quote:
"We are about delivering 'extra value, the experience beyond the product, maintaining loyalty among customers and effectively serving a community.' We continue to learn and experiment with the number, timing and type of articles we offer for free as the total amount of content we generate for our subscribers continues to grow. And we've determined that offering a freer paywall, we can maintain our commitment to subscribers that they're getting the best paper money can buy."
The move is believed to be at the behest of newish editor Rob Curley, who made his name as a digital whiz kid and has pressured Register owner Aaron Kushner to bring the paywall down. Kushner, never prone to admit he does anything wrong, responded by erecting the free paywall, according to newsroom sources.
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Asked to explain whether such a move was unfair to subscribers who had ponied up for an account, Morgan responded, "They will still have the same access to our award-winning publication; it's just that non-subscribers will have freer access to the paper. We're pleased that our subscribers have enough faith in us to get what the rest of the world will now get for free."
Only one thing will be off-limits to the freer paywall, says Morgan: the archives of [recently retired columnist ] Frank Mickadeit. According to Morgan, "We couldn't PAY people to read that self-serving shit."