How the Santa Barbara Independent Beats the Local Daily Online

march 4, 2009  10:34 am
Alan Mutter says newspapers shouldn't charge for access to their websites unless they provide content that is "unique and valuable." As an example, he says the pay wall erected by the daily Santa Barbara News-Press has left the paper with less than half of the traffic generated by the much smaller Independent. When wildfires threatened Santa Barbara in November, Mutter says, "scant information" was available for non-subscribers on the daily's site, while the alt-weekly's site -- which won a 2008 EPpy Award for best weekly newspaper-affiliated website -- "brimmed with up-to-the-minute bulletins, first-person reports" and fire photos.