Commercial Appeal Tightens Online Access

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In a full-page letter to readers in Monday's Commercial Appeal, publisher George H. Cogswell III laid down the CA's new online strategy. Basically, it's a "no more free lunch," policy, meaning almost all online content is now behind a pay-wall, available only to paid print and online subscribers.

Until now, readers could access a limited number of stories per month for free. No mas. Here's the money quote from Cogswell's letter:

For anyone currently not subscribing, access to some stories will be limited. Headlines and classified listings will be viewable on www.CommercialAppeal.com and other mobile devices, but most content will be reserved for subscribers. As the most-trusted local news source, we take very seriously our responsibility to provide public safety information, so urgent news bulletins will be free to all. Also, some important breaking news stories and features will be available without a subscription (but only for a limited time).

It will be interesting to see how this policy impacts the CA's infamous "commenters" community, among other things. Here's hoping it weeds out the worst of the bunch.

The Flyer now becomes one of only two print general-news media in town with free content (the Daily News is also online), but a word to any ex-pat CA commenters who may drift our way: Don't bring that crap over here.

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