Rudel: All-access launch a key step

Numerous changes have taken place over the Mirror’s 140-year history, changes that have allowed us to continue answering the bell by landing on your porch, or in a newspaper box, every single day.

Those significant changes have included adding a Sunday edition in 1985, converting to a morning paper in 1997, reducing the width of the paper in 2006 and adding several new sections such as Go, Religion, Gameday and glossy magazines like Blair Living.

Another change will happen beginning tonight when becomes an all-access website allowing print subscribers to also get an electronic version of the Mirror free of charge over the Internet or mobile app.

Those who don’t subscribe to the print edition will be able to purchase an online subscription to see all of the Mirror’s content.

Going online with free content for anyone to see was designed to embrace the technology of the Internet and hand-held devices capable of delivering news instantaneously to your pocket.

It was an experiment that the newspaper industry attempted for 10-plus years and was likened to McDonald’s deciding to give away its hamburgers while trying to sell advertising on its wrappers or Coca-Cola selling bottles of its product but giving it away in cans.

We should have been charging for online content from the very beginning. We know it, and now we are.

The good news is with your print subscription, you get free access to our online edition – wherever and whenever you want it. The online edition will include everything we print, and you can access either the headlines or flip through the PDF version of the pages.

This is really the first time we’ve provided our entire paper online to readers. Until this point, much of our daily posting has included just the top stories.

The only thing the online edition won’t include are the advertising supplements that are inserted in the Mirror, especially on weekends. For those, you’ll still need home delivery or to purchase the paper where it’s sold at local store outlets.

Just as the Mirror wasn’t the first to put its paper online, we’re not the first to launch what’s known as a paywall. Many newspapers across the country, including in this region, have some version of it.

The Mirror paywall will allow nonsubscribers to see a snippet of most stories and will require them to subscribe to see the entire story. In general, breaking news, some wire stories and sports scores – information that is also available elsewhere – will be in front of the paywall.

Information that is unique to the Mirror will be placed behind the paywall.

After the electronic edition launches with Thursday’s edition, readers will need to answer a few questions to link their digital account to their subscription information.

For questions, call the Mirror circulation department is 946-7480 or 800-287-4480. The circulation hours to best handle the digital subscription calls and questions are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Reading a newspaper – particularly a local paper like ours that chronicles your lives, the news and sports, the highs and lows, the births and deaths – is one of life’s great pleasures, whether it’s at the kitchen table or on back porch with coffee or now on your mobile phone or iPad.

People ask all the time about the future of the newspaper industry, whether there will be a print product in 10 years or beyond. We are comfortable there will be – and especially confident that the Mirror will remain a community pillar.

Launching an all-access edition, we believe, helps to ensure that future.

Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or