Well, this sucks. Our compatriots in the glamorous world of Hog blogging, the RazorBloggers Network, are reporting that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Times will begin charging $59.00 per year to read their online content. Probably not coincidentally, this policy kicks in on August 5th, the day before football practice starts.
While I fully support the idea that people or companies deserve to get paid for their hard work (and there are certainly plenty of worthy reporters on the staffs of those papers), this feels like a regressive move that isn't going to help anyone in the long term. But, that's a topic for a different discussion...my current concern is the future of our Wally Watch feature.
When Stephen and I started this blog almost two years ago (!) one of our primary motivations, believe it or not, was to provide a public service to Hog fans by analyzing and deciphering Wally Hall's columns...reading Wally "so you don't have to", as the Wally Watch tagline goes. We're just selfless, giving people that way.
But now, that service is in jeopardy. As much as we enjoy breaking down Wally's fractured prose, folksy metaphors and random travelogues, it's hard to justify paying $59 for that privilege...and even if we did, we still wouldn't want to link to a site that would charge our readers to see what we're talking about.
So, where do we go from here? How do we solve this problem? And how will noted Wally Watch fan Chris Bahn handle the news?
We're definitely open to any and all ideas, so if you have thoughts (serious or otherwise), please post 'em in the comments section.
(One final thought: is it possible that Wally Hall himself orchestrated this entire paid content move just to shut down the Wally Watches? I think it is...)