Historic City News is sticking to our policy, founded in fairness, and equal access to news and information, we are keeping free access to our weekday news journal, even after The St Augustine Record and its sister publication, The Florida Times-Union, have implemented a “paywall” that will only allow you access their website after you pay for a subscription.
We find that to be unfair, but we understand the pressure the newspaper must be under since emerging from bankruptcy. Print is dead and everyone in the newspaper business seems to know it, except The Record. As a source of local news, Historic City News is delivering, every weekday, to more than 15,000 e-mailboxes of voluntarily opt-in readers and is read on their smart phone, laptop, notebook, or I-pad. Remember that sponsors and advertisers have paid us to produce and deliver your copy of Weekday Issue, they want to be in front of as many readers as possible — not have their advertising copy buried behind a paywall.
In the case of the Record, the paywall is more of a “pay-speedbump”, and there are all kinds of ways around it. Not to say that sneaking around is the right thing to do — plenty of newspaper paywalls have holes in them, with the logic being if people are given the opportunity to subsidize the news they’re enjoying, they will even if they aren’t forced to.
Here are four of the ways that we have observed, for unscrupulous news-thieves to get around The Record paywall:
1. Install a free Firefox extension
“NoScript” add-on takes a little tinkering to get it to work the way you want it to, but if you tell it to block scripts on the Record website only, you’ll never get a “pay us now” pop-up again. It’s not as scary as it sounds — it installs itself and runs all on its own.
2. Clear your cookies
Different browsers have different routes to clearing your browsing data, but it’s probably listed under “preferences” or “settings.” Once you’re in there, simply delete your cookies and you’ll get a fresh set of 15 articles for the month. Be warned, though — those cookies are also how other websites know you’re logged into them, so if you logged into your email three years ago and don’t remember your password, you’ll be locked out until you can remember it again.
3. Switch browsers
Works on the same principle as #2 — if your Firefox cookies say you’ve read 15 articles, your Internet Explorer cookies have no idea. If you just want to check something quickly and don’t want to do anything fancy, just open up a different browser and you’ll have a new 15-article limit.
4. Turn on private browsing
Most browsers now have a “private browsing” feature under the “file” menu that allows you to open a window that doesn’t save any of your history, temporary files, or cookies once you close it. So if you pop into one of these windows, do some reading, and close your browser window, the paywall will never know you’ve been there.
Of course, you could also pay. Or, you could read Historic City News — we don’t charge our readers, and we don’t plan to.