We’ve got some big changes coming to Potomac Local News in February


Since we launched our paid subscriber program two years ago, you’ve spoken and we’ve listened.

  • “Why should I have to be a paid subscriber to read my local news? It was free before, so what has changed?”
  • “I’d like to sign up for your free trial but I don’t want to enter my credit card info upfront.”
  • “Why can’t I read 10 or so articles for free so I can decide if this local news website is worth a paid subscription?”
  • “I like getting your morning email newsletter but it’s frustrating because I can’t read everything in it because I’m not a paid subscriber.”
  • “I’m a paid subscriber but I’m afraid to share your content on social media because I’m afraid that other people who aren’t paid subscribers can’t see it, and it will make them angry.”

In February, we’re launching a newly redesigned weekday email newsletter and website at PotomacLocalNews.com that will be easier to read, with even more local content.

Plus — and here’s the big one — everything will be free and open to read up to a point, without the need for you to input a credit card, as long as you agree to pay later.

Here’s how it works if you’re not already a paid subscriber:

  • When you click on a story, you’ll be asked if you agree to pay a small fixed price (55 cents or below) to read a news article.
  • Read as often or as infrequently as you want — a few times a day, once per week, it’s up to you.
  • We’ll keep a running tab of what you’ve read, and once you hit $5 you’ll be asked to pay to not only continue reading but to support our mission of bringing important local news to our community.
  • If paying for single stories isn’t your thing, get to know us better by buying a day pass for about $3 that will give you 100% access to PotomacLocalNews.com website site for 24 hours (think of it as buying a single copy of a magazine at a newsstand).
  • You’ll never have to give your credit card upfront.
  • If you don’t like what you see after hitting $5, don’t pay. No hard feelings and we appreciate you stopping by.

Of course, current annual and monthly subscribers who are logged in will never be asked to pay as they already get 100% access to the site, always.

Not already a paid subscriber? Please subscribe today, and we thank you.

The changes represent our core mission in 2020: Make You Smarter About Your Community. Faster.

Your financial support is critical now more than ever. In fact, we’ve just seen another newspaper shakeup today as BH Media, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett, and the owner of the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star and Richmond Times-Dispatch announced it is getting out of the newspaper business and would sell all of its properties to a new firm, Lee Enterprises.

You’ll remember that BH Media was the same firm that purchased the old News & Messenger (formerly Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger newspapers) in Prince William County as part of a 163-newspaper acquisition from Richmond-based Media General in 2012, and abruptly closed the newspaper. Many of the same newspapers throughout the southeastern U.S. that were apart of the 2012 deal are also apart of the sale announced today.

In short, the old advertising model that used to support the delivery of free news is no longer sustainable as social media has allowed big businesses to place their advertising dollars elsewhere, and they largely no longer need the news to reach new customers.

According to a Pen America report:

  • Newspapers have been hit the hardest, losing over $35 billion in ad revenue and 47 percent of newsroom staff over the past 15 years.
  • Over 1,800 newspapers have closed, leaving more than three million people with no newspaper at all, and more than at least a thousand have become “ghost newspapers,” with little original reporting.
  • As local journalism declines, government officials conduct themselves with less integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness and corporate malfeasance goes unchecked. With the loss of local news, citizens are: less likely to vote, less politically informed, and less likely to run for office.
  • Because newspapers still provide the majority of original local reporting in communities, their evisceration robs the American public of trusted sources of critical information about health, education, elections, and other pressing local issues.

In recent months, Potomac Local News has hired new reporters to cover:

  • Prince William Board of County Supervisors
  • Prince William County School Board
  • Prince William County Planning Commission
  • Prince William County Board of Library Trustees
  • Prince William / Manassas Jail Board
  • Manassas City Council
  • Manassas Parks and Rec Commission
  • Manassas Regional Airport Commission
  • Manassas Park City Government
  • Stafford County Board of Supervisors
  • Stafford County School Board
  • Stafford County Planning Commission
  • Fredericksburg City Council
  • FredNats Minor League Baseball team

And that’s just to start. In the coming months, we’ll bring you coverage of other local boards and commissions you didn’t know existed, all of which play a role in how your local tax dollar is spent.

Plus, we’re launching new content over multiple platforms to include live stream, podcast, and YouTube, all aimed at introducing you to decision-makers in our community, as well as hosting in-depth discussions on the local issues no one else is talking about.

If you’re not already a paid subscriber, please become one today and tell us about the type of news coverage that matters to you. Play a role in your local news organization.

I can’t wait for the launch of these new features. I hope you enjoy them. =

As always, please let me know how we may serve you better.

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