Aug 25 2013
07:36 am

Knoxville News Sentinel editor Jack McElroy announced in today's paper that the News Sentinel will activate their paywall tomorrow morning (Monday, Aug. 26).

Web, mobile and app access will be free for print subscribers. McElroy doesn't say in the article how much a digital only subscription will cost. (It's $14/month at the Commercial Appeal.) We've asked if blogs will also be behind the paywall.

Some content will still be free, such as wire stories, traffic, weather and classifieds. Breaking local news will be free for a few hours after it's posted. Only subscribers will be able to comment, and McElroy says subscribers will be "glad to see the trolls turned away."

Online account signup starts tomorrow morning at (This link currently redirects to which is 404 at the moment.)

UPDATE: Jack McElroy said via email that KNS blogs such as Josh Flory and Tom Humphrey will NOT be behind the paywall "at this point."

UPDATE: Jack McElroy says in comments at the KNS article that the online/digital-only subscription will be $12/month.

R. Neal's picture

Hah! It only took 10 comments

Hah! It only took 10 comments at McElroy's article for someone to mention Benghazi!

B Harmon's picture

And they are going to the

And they are going to the Focus and Shopper News for their stories on Benghazi. I wonder where they will go to comment?

I was just now reading through all that outrage that this is happening. Sounds like the crazies are going to leave the "liberal paper" in droves. Good riddance.

R. Neal's picture

UPDATE: Jack McElroy said via

UPDATE: Jack McElroy said via email that KNS blogs such as Josh Flory and Tom Humphrey will NOT be behind the paywall "at this point."

Brian A.'s picture

Why don't they have the

Why don't they have the digital-only price?

Oh well, trolling was fun while it lasted.

jack lail's picture

Digital-only price

There is a digital only subscription offer at $1 less a month than the "premium subscription" (print plus digital). Digital is $11.99 and the premium is $12.99 per month.

-- jack lail

R. Neal's picture

$12.99 is for Sunday only,

$12.99 is for Sunday only, right?

Local Citizen's picture

What a joke

If people will not pay to receive the print edition what makes them think they can sell the digital subscription?

R. Neal's picture

UPDATE: Jack McElroy says in

UPDATE: Jack McElroy says in comments at the KNS article that the online/digital-only subscription will be $12/month.

Observer's picture

Wow. Two bucks more a month


Two bucks more a month than the big national papers? For what? Will there be digital coupons for grocery stores? What a bizarre price point for the product. I expected around $6 a month for the digital version. It sounds like you pay that 12 bucks to read or post comments and be able to get an archive on KNS stories. Hey Jack, are you going to block a story from Google cache after two weeks?

I don't think that pricing model can survive until Christmas. Reminds me of an old joke, why did God make Baptists? Because someone had to pay retail.

Brian A.'s picture

The New York Times costs

The New York Times costs more, but yeah, it does seem odd charging more for KnoxNews than the Washington Post costs.

Pete Sake's picture

KNS move further and further into irrelevance

Not sure why the heads think that people who won't pay a paper subscription would spend money on a digital only subscription.

It's piss poor journalism, rachet reporting, and a self serving agenda that is proven irrelevant in this community time and time again. Just ask Timmy Burchett, he'll tell you.

MurrayK's picture

We'll see Pete

I think the question is not why would they pay for digital when they don't pay for print but why would they pay for digital if they didn't have to. People did not stop reading the prit version because of piss poor journalism etc etc. they stopped because they had a no cost, arguably, more convenient alternative. Online readership has been rising steadily since the paper went online. I think those that still want to know what's going on will still read online. Either they willpay or they will adapt to logging on more frequently to catch the stories in the first few hours before they go behind the paywall. Either way it's more money(more than the zero they were getting) or more readership, which is just as valuable.

sclark426's picture


Just read about half of the 200+ comments on KNS website. Wow!

Amazed and angered by the number of conservative types who expect reporters to work for free.

Hey, folks, reporters already work cheap -- the money for journalism majors is in PR spinning or college professoring. Pay for the KNS or not, but please stop whining because it's not free. That sounds really left-wing to me. -- s.

fischbobber's picture


Not only do writers work for free, they're still expected to act in the same professional manner as those who are paid. It's a privilege and honor to be published don't you see. And one day it may lead to bigger and better things.

Elwood Aspermonte's picture

The quality of the KNS journalists' articles is woeful

Their news judgment is shot, their accumen to pin political figures down and to follow stories/events/public officials in the manner contemplated by the First Amendment is breathtaking shockingly bad. Not being able to see behind the doors, it may be terrible journalists, it could be lousy editors, it could be just the trend in for profit journalism these days, or a combination of all three.

In any event, the KNS is out of gas,its out of talent, its out of touch and in my opinion, the whole damn organization should be run out of down as the KNS is truly an embarrassment and purely a Haslam tool for misinformation and political perception.

Average Guy's picture

I say good.

I think it may help reporters with building the big picture. If I want the equivalent to three line breaking “staff” reports, I logon to Facebook.

But the big picture had better not be paint by numbers, filling only the colors the powers that be say can be filled in. No casual, unbiased reader can look at the Burchett, police beating or Pilot stories and say the paper didn’t work its own slant.

The real risk may be the lack of feedback. While the comment sections were generally troll heaven, the occasional deviled truth snuck in. Hopefully, what will become the silence, won’t be taken as acceptance.

However it plays out, R. Neal, I hope you’re ready for what may be heading your way.

jmcnair's picture

I'll sign up tomorrow.

Paying someone to monitor school board meetings, sheriff shenanigans, downtown construction and happenings, etc. is a bargain at that price. I'll pay the extra buck and get Sunday delivery, too. Any more than that results in more physical paper-handling than I care for. And typically results in a stack of virgin unread newsprint staring at me with disapproval.

If this cleans up some of the cesspool that has been the KNS comment section we have another win. I might even rehabilitate my banned ID and participate there again.

I wonder how many of the price complainants are paying $200/mo for a Comcast package (probably with a $7/mo modem charge whether they own it or not) or $200/mo for a Verizon package without blinking.

The modification I'd like to see is a syndication so my digital subscription included guest access at affiliated papers in other cities.

R. Neal's picture

The modification I'd like to

The modification I'd like to see is a syndication so my digital subscription included guest access at affiliated papers in other cities.

Excellent idea.

Tess's picture


I subscribe to the News Sentinel so this isn't a problem for me for local news, but I like to read other papers to keep up with my far flung family and it seems that they are all going behind pay walls. My pockets aren't deep enough to get the news I need from other areas. I suspect I am not alone here.

ATSF616's picture

>>The modification I'd like

>>The modification I'd like to see is a syndication so my digital subscription included guest access at affiliated papers in other cities.

>Excellent idea.


WhitesCreek's picture

I don't have a problem with

I don't have a problem with paying a fair price but I think they have this very wrong. I have suggested to another editor that a paid digital subscription should not include ads and should certainly should be less than the cost of the print edition. Tiered prices for ads, no ads, etc. would be a reasonable thing as well.

I just tried to look up the subscription costs on the KNS website, but stopped because it looks like I have to give all sorts of personal information to even find out how much it's going to cost. I wonder if the KNS ever asked itself how things look to the customer from the outside?

Looking up the cost of 13 weeks of 7 day home delivery including digital subscription for the Chattanooga Times Free Press it is $85.47. For the digital subscription only it is $85.47. This is common practice. Stupid!

Observer's picture

Pilot Crashing J

So does Pilot get 50,000 User ID's for their Friday papers?

GDrinnen2's picture

Anybody else concerned there

Anybody else concerned there will be a huge influx of nonsense over here now?

Rachel's picture

Well, yes, but Randy has

Well, yes, but Randy has higher stds than the KNS regarding the behavior of commenters.

GDrinnen2's picture

Fair point. Hate it for him

Fair point. Hate it for him though. Could get time consuming and a pain in the rear.

Average Guy's picture

To this end,

I missed the tutorial on the "spam" feature. How does it work? Can a troll be taken out by the spam feature?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Thanks for asking, AG. I had wondered how to use the spam feature, too.

As for the change at KNS, since I've long subscribed to the paper, I have no problem with it.

However, like Tess, I'm missing the unlimited access I used to have at other TN newspaper sites. I used to read four daily, now I read one and just read the others now and then. I can't afford that many subscriptions, either.

Like some at the KNS site are commenting today, I am generally rankled with the KNS only over what I perceive to be some errors of omission on their part.

I much prefer KNS coverage to that of our local TV stations, though, primarily because KNS does a generally good job of linking its source documents as pdf files, every word of which I always read.

xmd's picture

Since I get the paper 7 days

Since I get the paper 7 days a week I am ok with it. I would like to see it carry over to other papers online.

R. Neal's picture

The activate/subscribe link

The activate/subscribe link is live now.

It doesn't work on an Android tablet Chrome browser, though. The KNS Android app directs you there anyway.

Was able to register using a desktop. But it had multiple email addresses already associated with my "premium" (print) subscription and asked me to pick one to use for login.

I picked one, and it asked me to create a password. I entered a password and it said there was already an account for this email. Guess I had previously registered it to comment or something. I reset the password and I guess it's working now. Will find out when they turn on the paywall.

Very confusing. But it's early and I haven't had any coffee yet.

R. Neal's picture

Update. The paywall appears

Update. The paywall appears to be live, but my activation login does not seem to get past it. Oh well.

R. Neal's picture

Update. Did the "activate"

Update. Did the "activate" process again, using the same email and the newly reset password (which it already said I was logged on with) and it worked.

I guess the coffee helped?

R. Neal's picture

Update: The Android app has

Update: The Android app has quit working.

Update: Reinstalled app, seems to be working now.

CBT's picture

I gave up the print

I gave up the print subscription a year or so ago. It was hard. I looked forward to my morning paper. But, it was easier to disconnect from that habit than I thought. Of course, I just started reading online each morning. I missed a few things here and there. I learned it didn't matter much.

I paid the $16.99 for online and print Thursday-Sunday. I like the movie, entertainment section on Friday. I like Sunday ok. We'll see how it goes getting some 'print' again. I guess carrier's will be happy to get some cancelled deliveries back. I'd be interested to know how much of a hit these folks took over the past few years.

I've long advocated removing anonymous comments. I'd be fine for Randy to do likewise here. I think everyone who reads here knows who I am. I'm not sure why a bunch of nuts who want to rant without any accountability require an online presence. Don't reasonable people screen those people out of their real life? Maybe someone will create a blog for the nuts. And, they can all read each others insightful comments (extra points for racist and hateful), personal attacks and creative name-calling. All things we just have to know. Things which would subject these protectors of the truth to unbearable retaliation if their identities were revealed.

What passes for 'good reporting' at the KNS now includes getting basic facts, as simple as names, wrong. National Enquirer style sensationalism is encouraged. Some stories are intentionally avoided. Will the overall 'paper' improve under this new model? Who knows. Has anyone in another city where a paywall has gone up noticed any change in content or quality?

The availability of multiple sources of information has discredited print newspapers. The masses of sheep had a way to determine if stories were wrong, avoided or slanted. What's that about shining a light? That light is now a computer screen.

R. Neal's picture

National Enquirer style

National Enquirer style sensationalism is encouraged.

No kidding. Thy should pay US to read Jamie Satterfield.

reform4's picture


Maybe someone will create a blog for the nuts.

I thought there already was one.

Tess's picture


The UK Telegraph seems to be an open news site. Here is some news we probably should know:


mwester37922's picture

The availability of multiple sources of information has discredi

The availability of multiple sources of information has discredited print newspapers.

And as a result lost a huge amount of influence. If the flow of information can be controlled, then so can the people.

Brian A.'s picture

KnoxViews paywall

Will one be erected soon?

redmondkr's picture

Bite Your Tongue

I'd have to rob a liquor store to pay for the amount of time I hang around this place!

ATSF616's picture

I'd have to rob a liquor

I'd have to rob a liquor store to pay for the amount of time I hang around this place!

Me too, and I live 500 miles away

ATSF616's picture

Haven't had the heart yet to

Haven't had the heart yet to tell my 92-year-old mother I can no longer print off her daily Sam Venable fix. At least I can still get to the obits.

redmondkr's picture

I was glad to see the obits

I was glad to see the obits still available too. I have to look for my name there daily.

Until, as my friend says, a spanner is cast into the works, the KNS videos are also still available here on You Tube. Occasionally there is even something there that has nothing to do with UT football.

Oh, and some very nice Blue Plate Special videos, too

jack lail's picture

Videos are part of the

Videos are part of the "always free" content. Obituaries will be limited in the near future five per month (without a subscription).

-- jack lail

Dave Prince's picture

Wonder how soon before they

Wonder how soon before they fix the hole where I can just go to "Want to use this article? Click here for options!" and then just go Print -> Free Print.

R. Neal's picture

Haha, nice! Guess they will

Haha, nice! Guess they will fix it soon since you've tipped them off. :)

ATSF616's picture

Missed that.....thank you.

Missed that.....thank you.

R. Neal's picture

Hah! There won't be any

Hah! There won't be any paywalls here. It would cost too much to set up and just make more work for us to serve the three or four people who would still be around.

reform4's picture

Alternatives for local
Shopper News
Donila's blog

Eh, what the hell- add Shock and Awe, it's free. He may have an agenda, but he is generating local content.

Rachel's picture

"Sorry for the delay in

"Sorry for the delay in activating your account. We need a live person to look at your information and get you going. Please call 877-304-7769."

She's working on it now......

R. Neal's picture

A "live person" as opposed

A "live" person as opposed to... a zombie?

Rachel's picture

Yup, and she actually got it

Yup, and she actually got it done in less than 3 minutes.

Don't know why I got chosen for the honor, tho.

AnonymousKNS's picture

a blender

a blender

xmd's picture

Got mine activated this morn.

Got mine activated this morn. but can't log on to the e-edition, either desk top or phone. Called back and they said they were performing maintenance. Just wondering if anyone else has this problem or if I should call back. It's been a few hours and I still can't get on.

R. Neal's picture

Not working for me either. It

Not working for me either, I get redirected to a subscriber notice page saying I need to sign up. It was working earlier. The whole site is super slow at the moment...

R. Neal's picture

Oops. Now getting internal

Oops. Now getting internal server error 500 on main/front page.

R. Neal's picture

Must be crashing under the

Must be crashing under the extreme load of tens upon tens of thousands of people signing up for subscriptions...

xmd's picture

Thanks for the update.

Thanks for the update.

MurrayK's picture

I signed up today

Took two tries to get the system to accept my information. I think its worth it to get full access although I'm sure many people will be content to access only what is free.

I'm wondering how long it takes before the full stories that are kept behind the paywall will be accessible on the internet.

jack lail's picture

Stories over a week old are

Stories over a week old are free.

-- jack lail

Mike Cohen's picture

Logging on

Might have been easier for me since I already get a print edition, plus I am old so I get up really early, but I had zero problems logging on via my computer, my phone or my iPad.

I have always gotten a print edition. Always will. My Dad was a newspaper editor and it's just wired into me. When first married we got two newspapers so I didn't have to read any of it out of order.

Not that I'm Type A or anything....

Rachel's picture

Luckily, Jim gets up before

Luckily, Jim gets up before me. Although sometimes we DO have that problem on Sunday. I'm picky about the order in which I read it. Jim doesn't care as long as he gets the important thing (comics) first.

R. Neal's picture

We have daily print

We have daily print subscription, too, since about 1974 except when we lived in FL and got Sunday only by mail, and now about 13 years since we've been back.

I had to try three times to get activated. The software found our print subscription no problem, but I'm guessing the confusion related to multiple associated emails going back to when registration was required to read anything and in more recent years to comment.

Average Guy's picture

New system hasn’t helped with revisionist history

Went over to look at the new site and saw this; “Henley Bridge to reopen ahead of schedule”


R. Neal's picture

Good catch.

Good catch.

AnonymousOne's picture

KNS is whistling past the

KNS is whistling past the graveyard. I'll go to where I can count on the authenticity of the news. I may have a conservative bias, but this would be one of those sites.

KNS is foundering. Decrease in comments will decreasse ad traffic won't it? Will glance at the front page, and then check other sites for the news.

reform4's picture

Ding ding ding

KNS is foundering. Decrease in comments will decreasse ad traffic won't it?

The trolls accounted for a lot of their page views.

When advertisers see the new web stats, it's gonna be



barkers's picture

web ads

If page views translated into advertising dollars, do you really think Scripps would have changed anything? For whatever reason, and I'm not in advertising so I don't know, it doesn't.

Bird_dog's picture

just wondering

If you get the Sunday only pkg for online access, is the online access every day? Does it allow for more than one user in the household?
My objection to the printed paper is the messy buildup I had - especially when I went out of town for a week or so. Hubby would save them for me, and I'm a compulsive trivia reader...such a waste of time... Maybe Sunday only wouldn't be so bad - more for the recycling...

barkers's picture

Sunday only

My understanding is that you would get the Sunday paper, plus Internet access to all knoxnews content. At this point, there is only one Internet user name per subscription, though the powers that be are working on a way for families with a single subscription to have multiple user names.

Rachel's picture

That's gonna be a problem.

That's gonna be a problem. Jim activated our acct at work today (where he kinda needs access to breaking news) and then I tried to activate it at home. Different email addresses, of course. When I had trouble, the system connected me with a human who fixed it. I suspect Jim is now locked out.

This is a non-trivial problem for us, and as daily subscribers to the KNS for more years than I can remember, something that I would have expected to have been fixed before rollout.

NOT happy.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I suspect there are many married couples who access the KNS site from two different work locations/e-mail addresses (or else one accesses it from work and the other from home).

I understand that Jim needs access from work, given his job duties, but WRT all those other folks we know are reading at work when they shouldn't be...maybe we'll now see a tremendous jump in our local economic productivity!

barkers's picture


I understand the problem. I have the same issue, though it's even a bigger one because I have website administrative access. Kinda hard to share that.

You and Jim will share one user name connected to your home subscription. Both can use it from whatever computers you happen to be using. The only time that could be confusing is if you both comment on news stories. In that case, I would advise typing the person's name responsible for the comment in the text, just like I am doing in this post.

Another solution would be to get Jim's employer to spring for an online only subscription for him. If indeed he must need access to breaking news (though much of our breaking news will be free at least for some time), they should be accommodating. That way, you could use the home subscription user name and he could use the work subscription user name.

Hope this helps.

Scott Barker
KNS Editorial Page Editor

Rachel's picture

My understanding is that the

My understanding is that the user name is the email address, correct? So if I tell Jim to use my email address and give him my password we should be all set?

I've pretty much quit commenting and Jim won't unless he needs to for work (which would only be very occasionally) but we both want access to the entire site during the day.

barkers's picture


That is my understanding. You and Jim have to share the email address and password for your home subscription account (kinda puts the old marital trust thing to the test, doesn't it?).

That should allow both of you, regardless of whether you are at home and he is at work or either of you has a laptop at Starbucks, to access all the online content all day long. As I said, they're working on a way to allow multiple user names for a single account. My guess is that the trick is doing that without double-billing the customer, though that's pure speculation (I am the last person to know how the technology actually works).

I don't know how it works for anyone else, but when I activated my account the public still only saw my old user name (ScottB) and not my email address. I didn't do anything to make it so -- it just was.

Rachel's picture

Ok. I can't log in with my

Ok. I can't log in with my email. When I use Jim's it acts like it's working but clearly isn't since it won't let me comment or see all the stories.

Who do I talk to? I thought this was supposed to be easy. Between us, we've spent an hour messing with this today and have lost our access. I don't have time for this, and as a long time print subscriber I want it working. Now.

NOT happy.

barkers's picture

log in

I don't know what's wrong and you certainly don't want me as a techno-troubleshooter. Make sure you're logged of any account before trying to activate. You should be able to find help at (link...). If you keep encountering problems, email me and I'll see what I can do.

Rachel's picture

Had to clear the cache (which

Had to clear the cache (which I should have thought of myself). Working now.

However, it took THREE phone calls, as I got cut off at the very end of the discussion twice.

barkers's picture


Sorry it was an ordeal, but am glad you stuck with it. We'll try to make it worthwhile.

cwg's picture

Just use the same login.

Just use the same login. Unless you're both addicted to commenting on the site, it's not an issue at all. As many family members as you have can use the same login, but they're all (at this point) attached to the same commenting account. Won't be an issue for most people, because most readers of the website are not, in fact, commenters.

Edit: Barker and I typing at the same time ...

Tamara Shepherd's picture


My understanding is that you would get the Sunday paper, plus Internet access to all knoxnews content.

But does that Sunday paper subscription translate into "Internet access to all knownews content" every day of the week?

Like Bird, I had understood that the one-day subscription does buy seven days per week access.

Is this what you're confirming?

barkers's picture


I don't see what's so hard to understand. You get the Sunday paper and 24/7 Internet access to all content.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


That's what I thought...Mr. Grumpy Pants.


barkers's picture


You ain't seen grumpy, my friend. As Nicholson might say, you can't handle the grump.

bizgrrl's picture

I, too, was going to mention

I, too, was going to mention the grumpiness, except I might have used a not so polite word. Not a positive ambassador for the KNS is what I thought.

barkers's picture

Sorry if you thought I was

Sorry if you thought I was grumpy, or worse. I didn't think I was grumpy at all. I certainly didn't feel grumpy when I posted. I was merely helping two old friends -- I've known Tamara and Rachel for years -- with the process. If I tend to be a little more flippant with my responses to them it's because I don't think I have to be ambassadorial with people I've known for longer than a decade. They certainly don't hesitate to be less than ambassadorial with me when they disagree with me or with KNS.

GDrinnen2's picture

You know, I tended to agree

You know, I tended to agree with the "ambassador" remark bizgirl made. However this is a fair response, IMO. Hopefully others who don't know the parties won't misread.

Thanks for coming and sharing with us Scott.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I was merely helping two old friends -- I've known Tamara and Rachel for years -- with the process. If I tend to be a little more flippant with my responses to them it's because I don't think I have to be ambassadorial with people I've known for longer than a decade.

Nah, you don't have to with me--and it's why I added that little smiley face to my post.

Didn't mean to take us off track. Like Gary, I'm glad when you come around here, too.

Carry on.

barkers's picture

Online subscriptions

A couple of reports on online subscriptions.

Gannett Co. (GCI), New York Times Co. (NYT) and other newspaper publishers are finding that consumers are willing to pay for online subscriptions for access to local news content, according to a report from Borrell Associates Inc.

Nieman Journalism Lab:
For the New York Times Company, the circulation revenue increase amounted to $63 million in 2012. For Gannett, which installed its metered systems throughout the year, overall circulation revenue was up almost $40 million in the fourth quarter. That should lead to more than $100 million in added revenue in 2013. Add in the multiple millions pulled in by paywall leaders like the Star Tribune, the Columbus Dispatch and the Charleston Post and Courier, and you’ve got serious money. Figure that U.S. paywall programs will generate more than $300 million this year. When the 2012 final numbers come in, the industry’s circulation revenue should punch back through the $10 billion level — on their way to beating the $11.2 billion zenith, set in 2003, by 2016.

Somebody's picture

If this shifts the industry

If this shifts the industry focus back to journalism and away from creating fodder for their commenters, I'm all for it.

xmd's picture

I just talked to the help

I just talked to the help desk and they told me my Android e-edition app is not supported anymore. (the one with the rolled up newspaper on front) It's not even supposed to be in the App store but is still, as of this morning. They told me if you want the e-edition on your tablet or phone you must access it via a brower. This adds too many steps. Don't really understand why they don't want a direct e-edition app anymore.

MurrayK's picture


It's interesting how some of the posters feel it's OK to accuse KNS and its employees of all kinds of despicable things day in and day out every week.. but when an "ambassador" for the KNS logs on he's seems to be held to a different standard.

I signed up yesterday. I'm disappointed that there is not enough stuff behind the paywall to justify my paying for it. It looks like more than 80% of content is still free.

barkers's picture


Well, MurryK, I'm kinda used to it. You get a pretty thick skin working for a newspaper.

I hope you will find enough news in knoxnews' subscription-only area to make it worth your time and money. And you can always zip us a note letting us know what you would like to see that we aren't covering. That's no guarantee that the news editors will see it the same way, but if you don't speak up no one will hear.


bizgrrl's picture

Look at it this way, the

Look at it this way, the commenters involved are customers of the KNS. Customers request assistance and complain, but the paid provider generally responds, when possible, with respect. Customers are king.

Obviously, in this case it doesn't matter because these KNS customers are also two old friends.

barkers's picture


If Rachel or Tamara complains, then I'll discuss it with them. They are, as you say, the customers.

R. Neal's picture

I'm not puzzled by the Mrs.'s

I'm not puzzled by the Mrs.'s reaction at all.

I once told the president of a company during a sales presentation that his idea was "stupid."

Needless to say, we didn't get the account. And even more needless to say, the Mrs. didn't invite me on too many more sales presentations.

She's very sensitive to that stuff about those pesky customers and whatnot.

(Which is sort of ironic, because I probably drilled that into her pretty little accountant head early on in our professional career. But practice what you preach, and all that.)

bizgrrl's picture

Bubba takes a little too much

Bubba takes a little too much credit. Many years ago, I worked at King's Department Store on Chapman Highway. They had a poster in the employee lounge that said "The Customer is King." I've never forgotten. However, the Mr. does have to remind me every now and then when I am speaking to a customer and get a little frustrated.

Bonus point to anyone who remembers King's Department Store.

The Mr. is great at sales presentations when we don't get into details. He does know the business.

R. Neal's picture

Actually, I'm better when we

Actually, I'm better when we get into details, at least technology wise. Maybe not so much when it comes to the BS aspects.

But yes, Customer is King. I will reluctantly concede that point and give the Mrs. credit for preaching that at a very young age.

A long time ago when I was an R&D EVP at a technology company getting ready to go public, someone asked me to rank my priorities in terms of what I thought they should be for the company.

I said, "Customers, employees, shareholders."

Needless to say, again, my tenure was short-lived. But it was by choice. Because I had previously worked as SVP for a technology company who never intended to go public, and Customer Was King. And I believed that then and now.

Thankfully, everything worked out in the long run.

AnonymousOne's picture

I wonder how this will affect

I wonder how this will affect one big source of ad revenue: sports fans? Seems like at govolsextra they are none too happy about it. And since we all know a good many of the paper readers read it for sports, they may have pissed off an important target group. Especially with the timing, as commenters note, and all.

cwg's picture

Sports fans aren't a source

Sports fans aren't a source of revenue if they aren't paying for the paper. Online ad sales in the Knoxville market don't bring in much revenue, which is why a paywall is necessary in the first place.

AnonymousOne's picture

Anecdotal evidence I know,

Anecdotal evidence I know, but I don't think as many people are reading it as they were. I'm visiting, Front Page only, probably 70% less.

CBT's picture

I apologize for a personal

I apologize for a personal comment. Has anyone else had log in problems on the KNS site this morning? I subscribed this past Monday. After logging out and back in, I've been logged in all week. No problems. My computer usually keeps me logged in.

But, when I went to the site this morning, I was not logged in. I tried every combination. I tried changing my password and getting a new one by email. Finally, I got logged in on the site, but was blocked when I tried to view stories and could not sign in using the same information.

Has anyone else had log in issues with the KNS site this morning? Again, sorry for the personal comment. This is VERY frustrating.

R. Neal's picture

Working for me at 7am. Was

Working for me at 7am. Was still logged in.

Average Guy's picture

Still nothing I'd pay for,

as one of today's headlines is "Watchful Eye: Suspcious person reports in Halls, alcohol reports around UT"

Alcohol around a college campus? Say it ain't so!

redmondkr's picture

Don't Buy a Cow

when the milk is free. sends me an email weekly with a link to a map of recently reported crimes in my Zip Code. And it's free.

Bird_dog's picture

trial subscription?

I tried to pay for the offer of 3 mos online for the price of one - introductory offer - but there was no way to opt out of the monthly charge continuing on my credit card after that...

ATSF616's picture

I tried to pay for the offer

I tried to pay for the offer of 3 mos online for the price of one - introductory offer - but there was no way to opt out of the monthly charge continuing on my credit card after that...

I encountered the same thing when I signed up for iPad trials of the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. As an iPad newbie, I thought it seemed a reasonable risk to help me get acquainted with the environment. I'll let you know how it works in about 3 months.

Average Guy's picture


I truly am waiting for a story that’s going to make me run to the convenience store to pick up a print copy.

As of writing this, the top story on the website is; “East Tennessee woman hospitalized to remove stolen $5,000 from rectum”

Come on KNS. You have now asked people to pay for the “news”. Time to fold up the side show tents.

Pam Strickland's picture

I signed up today two months

I signed up today two months for the price of one and there was nothing about the charge continuing on my credit card.

R. Neal's picture



fischbobber's picture

Two Cents

I've hesitated to comment on this topic because of my relationship with the press in this town. I'm not what you'd call an insider, but down through the years I've been able to establish a working, if at times somewhat tenuous, relationship with enough editors to keep me busy and work on the craft. Plus, my politics don't always fit neatly into a little pigeon-hole. I readily admit I'm biased, yet by the same token, I try to live by my values and deal with the inevitable contradictions and hypocrisies of life in an upfront manner.

I have both a philosophical and practical objection to the paywall at the Sentinel. First the practical. If there was really going to be an attempt to improve the quality of the paper with the increased revenue, these improvements to the wage and benefits packages would have already been announced. Pam has to buy a subscription? Really? Your liberal columnist now has to pay a kickback to keep up with the local paper's priorities? Are you serious? Your community columnists and blog editors have to pay for the privilege of working? What's wrong with this picture? As I told Barker several months ago, twenty years ago I'd worked myself into a position to get one hundred dollars a pop for the stuff I'm now expected to produce for free, and now you want to charge me to do my research? In many ways, writing is like any other hobby and one does it for satisfaction above all else, but when one's labor is used to make a product relevant and profitable, one is entitled to fair compensation for that labor. I'm not just being asked to work for free, I'm being asked to pay to work. Just because I've worried about the quality of what I'm doing ahead of the compensation involved doesn't mean I don't believe I should be compensated fairly. These are the sort of issues that a competent management team addresses before the unveiling of a paywall. This paywall is not about retooling a failing business model, this paywall is about stealing jewelry from someone on their deathbed. That's why I'm against it at a practical level.

Philosophically, I'm against it because the foundation of freedom of the press has always been based on free content. Traditionally the cost of newspapers to the consumer has always been about printing and distribution. Whatever the printing and distribution costs were is what the paper charged. Look at newspaper web pages. Newspapers are not investing huge amounts of capital to develop user friendly and advertiser relevant means of distributing information. Scripps has one half-assed format and it is the standard for their corporation. If the Sentinel gets 50,000 subscriptions at 12 dollars a month, do you believe that they are going to invest that 7.2 million dollars a year into hiring and compensating people and devoting the resources into making their product more dynamic , user friendly, unique, relevant and in demand? Or do you think they will milk the product and stand pat? What is the track record of the industry? If this revenue was to used to compensate writers, photographers, cartoonists, etc. I'd be right on board. But I've delivered papers for the Sentinel during a price increase. They'd raise the cost by a dollar, blame the paperboy, and give him a nickel. I don't believe the rationale is to improve the product, I believe the rationale is to soak the consumers.

Finally, I'm a big Al Gore supporter. Back in my high school days, when I first started following him I can remember thinking, "This guy gets it." To this day I believe and can argue that he and Hillary were the brains behind the Clinton success and had he been elected the U.S. and the world would be a different place.

Having said that, charging for a newspaper is contrary to the whole idea behind the internet. Ready access to public records, court cases, crime reports, weather, legislative proceedings at the local, state and national level, sports scores and play by play activities as well as community comment and feedback should be free. The whole point of Al's internet legislation where he defined the public parameters and deemed the internet a public asset (what the idiot Republicans refer to as inventing the internet)) was to increase every citizen's access to information in order to provide equal opportunity for all. Instead, access is being restricted to only those with the means to pay.

This paywall is nothing more than the most current example of what happens when one lets the bean counters run a business. You can't compete with Craigs List? Seriously? Craigs List is a pain in the ass. The real point is that in this day of innovation in the communication industry, in order to capture readers, one must constantly be building a better mousetrap. The day's of editors and publishers hanging out at ballgames and running around pretending to be big shots is over. For the time being they'd best have a low end computer sitting in their office and making sure every thing they produce loads fast on dial up. That's the first step in winning back readers, and that's where the money is. The ultimate means of cash flow for newspapers will not change. Their worth will depend on the number of readers, not what they can soak each of them for.

Observer's picture


The Cliff Notes version next time?

Also, when your hero Al sells out to Al Jazeera, wth? What did that have to do with the rest of the rant? I suspect Schnapps had a lot to do with that rant dump. What was your point?

The Sentinel was a joke before the paywall. Now it is an bad joke.

fischbobber's picture

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera is currently regarded the the most accurate source of news in the world by those of us that pay attention to those things. I'm not sure what your point is there.

If you don't want to read my stuff, don't. But I've learned that nuance and assumption of general knowledge doesn't play well here. See your point about Al Jazeera as evidence. I'll continue to spell out points that are subject to misinterpretation, thank you very much, though clearly folks like you will continue to see what you choose to see regardless of what is actually there.

Observer's picture

silly claim

"Al Jazeera is currently regarded the the most accurate source of news in the world by those of us that pay attention to those things. I'm not sure what your point is there."

The point is that your claim isn't true. Excuse me if I seek a better source for opinion on the KNS. You are over the top from time to time, but you exceeded yourself this time.


Either way, the Al-Jazeera name has taken a hit, says Marwan Kraidy, who studies Arab media at the University of Pennsylvania. And it's time for the network to do some soul-searching.

"There might be some room for changing," Kraidy says. "And I do hope that that does happen. Because otherwise ... you're running what's truly an internationally unique institution that had its moment of brilliance into the ground."


That might be a little over your head.

fischbobber's picture

Neither of your sources refuted my position

One was a critique of the coverage of 1 story.

The other was generally in agreement with my position.

I'm not sure what your point is.

Pam Strickland's picture

All newspaper employees have

All newspaper employees have always had to pay for subscriptions. Traditionally home deliveries, you only pay for the delivery portion of the subscription, but not the paper portion. I don't remember the calculations from my daily newspaper days, but it was nice.

It never occurred to me to ask for a break when the paywall went up. Yes, I frequently need access to other KNS stories when I'm researching my column, but I'm a freelancer so I bear all research costs anyway.

I may have some disagreements with the particulars of the paywall, but overall I believe that it is the way to go for newspapers.

Jamie Satterfield's picture

Employees are given a fairly

Employees are given a fairly big break on subscription rates, both digital and home delivery. I have no quarrel with paying, though I make incessant inhouse complaints about it just to shore up my rep as a hater.

MurrayK's picture

What is the alternative

I'd be interested in hearing more about the solution to dwindling advertising revenues from the media experts such as fischbobber.

If not the paywall then what?

This town will take a big hit on news gathering if the News Sentinel goes out of business. I dare say that the TV and radio stations are not going to be able to pick up the slack. They've been sucking on KNS like parasites for as long as they have been broadcasting.

The only bright spot I see is that community papers in my part of town such as Farragut Press and West Side Shopper seem to be doing well, but they don't cover the county government nearly as well as KNS.

fischbobber's picture


Obituaries and classifieds are the classic lifeblood of a newspaper. When Craig's list came about, the entire newspaper industry rolled over and played dead rather than respond by providing an alternative to that forum that was worth paying for. Bargain Mart was a similar threat, but somehow newspapers didn't fold, in fact, they incorporated the Bargain Mart philosophy of charging the consumer a profit-generating premium to have access to the advertising.

With the demise of the yellow pages and the advances in computer technology, the direct advertising industry is ripe for the picking. However, I don't see it happening with twenty-five thousand dollar a year programers. It will take talent and innovation to make the sites functional and viewable. Again, the cheapest equipment and slowest speeds are the least common denominator. It's no trick to write software with unlimited memory, the hard part of software writing is getting a program to do a lot with as little memory as possible. Right now, everything in the tech industry is geared toward faster, more powerful machines, when in reality, if the programs don't load and work fast on older slower machines with dial-up (i.e. cheaper) then you have lost over half your market.

This all comes back to the classifieds. If one provides a centralized, efficient and diverse forum with a large audience, one has essentially provided a reason for advertisers to pay. Right now, dealing with billing at the Sentinel is a pain in the ass. Want a year's subscription at the discount introductory offer? Please hold for a supervisor. Want to place a classified? Good luck getting exposure. It's buried somewhere on the website. I can't even tell you how to do it because pop-ups hide both the ads and the instructions. In no way, shape, size or form is advertising at the Sentinel easy and efficient for the advertiser or the consumer. Profits down? No shit Sherlock. That's because the site sucks and the site sucks because you don't want to pay what it takes to run it in a compelling manner.

High school stats in all sports, pictures in the classifieds, (or the option of pictures for slower machines), various load speeds, scrolling classifieds and some kind of alternative to these annoying pop-ups and sign-in features are a must. Advertising is a medium for creative people with no soul, hire some. Site design is a medium for creative people with social issues. Hire some. Pay them well and if they don't do the job, move them out. For God's sake, content people get banned all the time, the same standard should apply to techs and ad guys.

It's not rocket science Murray. It's people getting up off their dead ass and doing their job. And that includes McElroy and Birmingham. I mean, come on guys, Terry Morrow is still listed on the online directory. Show some respect and have some pride. Take care of business.

That's where you start Murray.

MurrayK's picture

I think it's harder than that

Scripps Howard has a lot more brainpower working on business models than just McElroy and Brimingham. I might go as far as to suggest that when it comes to business, those two just do what they are told from the bosses at SH.

I don't believe the revenue problems at the KNS or any other newspaper have anything to do with quality of content. newspapers reacted quickly to craigs list and put their classifiedds on line. If they really wanted to put craigs list out of business they would have put classifieds on line at no charge, but that wouldn't help pay the bills.

The model for financial success at newspapers has always been about circulation, not content. The newspaper doesn't sell the stories it sells the target audience. The challenge is aggregating enough people in that audience to be able to convince advertisers to spend money, something they don't have a lot of in this economy.

The problem is that the target audience has become fragmented by endless choice for free information, most of it borrowed without recompense from organizations such as KNS. With the market fragmenting and competition stealing their content, putting up a paywall makes sense.

If it's too little too late it still makes more sense than doing nothing.

fischbobber's picture

Scripps Howard

Scripps Howard has never been very progressive when it comes to taking care of their people. That is a huge part of the Sentinels problem. You have to have content to generate circulation and you have to have circulation to generate ad revenue. You have to have competent people to generate the content to attract advertisers. You have to pay your people well enough to patronize these advertisers so they can afford advertising. If any of the parts of this circle of life gets out of balance, then none of it works. If you want people to pay for your product, then you must produce a product worth buying.

The information consumer is becoming more discriminating and information producers have to deal with that market shift, or perish. You must offer more content to deal with a wider range of tastes and desires and you have to get used to the idea that a one newspaper town is no longer a one media option town.

I think you may have missed my point about Craigs list. It's a pain to use. It would not be impossible or even difficult for an entity with the right resources to offer a much more user friendly and I believe effective format. The Sentinel's current format is neither. There is no reason to pay to use the Sentinel when it is not nearly as effective as Craigs List. Were it to be redesigned to combine both the Yellow Pages and classifieds into a usable format that was user friendly, then it would likely generate both higher circulation and ad revenue.

The problem is not a fragmented audience, the problem is a product that is not adjusting to the circumstances of the market. If newspapers don't become proactive instead of reactive they will continue to decline.

Unless the full revenue generated by a paywall is being reinvested in producing content, it's a bad idea. It's just stealing the jewelry from someone on their deathbed.

R. Neal's picture

I went to look to see what

I went to look to see what the problem is with News Sentinel classified. Not sure I understand your beef.

The user interface is pretty nice and easy to use, both for placing an ad and for viewing ads. Classifieds are not behind the paywall, so anyone can browse or search them.

I guess the main complaint newspapers have v. Craigslist is that Craigslist is free (for most ads). The interface is also not very pretty. It's also a playground for spammers and scammers.

The KNS on the other hand, charges. But, they also print 120,000-150,000 copies of your classified and deliver it to residents every day.

(Yes, I'm sure Craigslist probably has some huge IT expenses, but Wikipedia says they only have 28 employees and they have stated several times they aren't in business to make money anyway.)

fischbobber's picture

Easy is in the eye of the beholder

When I went to the classified page the first thing it asked on an ad sale was log-in. I don't have a log-in that I know of (I always use remember me on this computer) if I do have one. So to compare my ad options I've got to register and get told I'm doing it wrong about 6 bazillion times.

When viewing the ads, the format was the same as craigs list minus the pictures and every time I clicked a change (10 to 100 per page for instance) everything stayed the same with no explanation as to why. If you're going to turn newspaper readers into computer savvy technology operators, your going to have to do it incrementally. Also the first thing I got when browsing the classifieds was a pop-up Mayo's ad.

While it's great that Mayo's is advertising, if I'm not looking for that it's irritating. What has happened to internet advertising is that the few ideas that exist on information presentation have somehow turned into the only way to do things, and they're not.

I don't pretend to be computer savvy nor do I spend a lot of time worrying about it, but if I'm going to be asked to pay for site access, it should be easy and enjoyable to use.

R. Neal's picture

Again, KNS does not require a

Again, KNS does not require a login or account or any paymen to view, browse or search online classifieds.

As for placing an ad, the options are to sign in using an existing account or to create a new account to pay for the classified. Seems pretty straightforward to me. How else are they supposed to get paid?

If Craigslist ever starts charging for all ads (instead of just some), they would have to do the same thing.

One value add for Craigslist is that buyers and sellers can communicate anonymously until the point they are ready to do a deal, v. having to publish your phone number in the paper. On the other hand, the anonymous aspects can cut both ways.

fischbobber's picture

Again, maybe it's just me

I'm finding the way it's done somewhat cumbersome. As I started poking around in the classifieds there are a lot of ah ha moments but all too often I find myself back at square one without a clue as to how I got there.

I never did find pricing info in the classifieds and I'm at a loss as to why pet ads are banned and every time I wanted to start over I had to sign in again. I';m sure a lot of this stuff would make perfect sense to my Dad as he has been a systems designer since the 50's, but I find it irritating.

I have a hard time believing that there isn't a better way.

By the way, price reduction at Rudder Lane, it's down to 4.9 mill. Better hurry. Someone will be all over that.

R. Neal's picture

Weird. Didn't have any of

Weird. Didn't have any of those problems. Pricing was pretty clear.

Pet ads are likely banned because of puppy mills and backyard breeders. Good on KNS for that.

Not sure why you would keep getting kicked out. Some sort of antivirus of free internet "tuneup" utility blocking cookies or popups or something?

Didn't get your Rudder Lane reference. We looked at a couple of houses over there 10 or 12 years ago, but not quite in that price range.

fischbobber's picture

Cruising the classifieds

I was cruising the classifieds to double check what I was saying. Hence the Rudder Lane reference. Property was listed from most expensive down. I guess their system had me pegged for discriminating taste. ;-)

I use a Mac and am not registered as a subscriber. Both of those could have accounted for my difficulty.

They actually had a list of banned topics on my page, all of which is making me wonder if they're even sending both of us the same page.

Ultimately, I will probably start subscribing again, if for nothing more than using the newspaper as mulch in the garden. It comes in handy and is about the right amount of daily work.

I still don't think anyone past the editorial desk takes the readers very seriously, nor do they worry too much about taking good care of their people. They could do way better.

earlnemo's picture


If a single user/password is required for households, what prevents me from accessing the KNS using someone else's subscription, or subletting access to mine? Is there a limit on the number of devices per script? (I'm looking at you, Toby)

MurrayK's picture

Where does the money come from?

Even when the newspapers had very little competition they were not cash cows. If they didn't make enough money to invest in content when they were on top, how are they going to do it today, when they are facing a double whammy of a poor economy and a fragmented audience.

The truth is that the daily newspapers have delivered pretty good content for many years, certainly good enough to justify readership.

I say the problem is the inability to monopolize an audience big enough to justify advertising revenues that at least balance the cost of content generation and distribution.

MurrayK's picture

Less discriminating

I think the information consumer has become less discriminating.

In the old days, 20 years ago, you had the people who got their news from the newspapers: smart people who got up early and need the best information as soon as possible and were willing to pay a quarter to get it.

Then you had the pogues who worked 9 to 5 in the factory, got home in time for dinner and satisfied their meager hunger for information through a half hour or hour of 150 word TV news stories with moving pictures and entertaining commercials with good looking people.

Now they are all hooked into this 24/7 generic news grid that serves up bread and circuses for those who really don't need to be informed anyhow. Those smart people who needed good information have realized that the only that counts is what the stock market did that day.

Average Guy's picture

In the old days,

Walter told you the way it was.

Of course the reality wasn't so concise it could fit into 30 minutes, but it was the "reality".

The news was the "news" because it's had we had.

The generic news grid does include things like YouTube.

So when the local press tries to tell readers who was and wasn't on the scene of a police beating, they too had better check the larger "grid". And they only get so many many opportunities to get it right before people simply stop trusting them.

redmondkr's picture

Funny you guys were

Funny you guys were discussing Craig's List and its ease of use. Just got a call from our band leader who put up an ad for a female singer/bass player on CL this morning and was thrilled to get an answer already - someone with an address of and a link to what was supposedly her resume.

He became suspicious when she thanked him in advance and signed it "Rory West" so he forwarded the mail to me because he doesn't maintain virus protection and he would just as soon infect my machine instead. Norton blocked the site.

I think I can do without that sort of 'ease of use'.

Average Guy's picture


Links on CL are like unsolicited calls.

If you get one, ignore it.

Observer's picture

KNS ignores Anders

Not an editorial word about Brad Anders seeking the Chair of Commission. Anders was nominated by Amy Broyles. The TYP advocate. Interesting how that works considering the Michael Mallincoat situation/travesty. Mike Brown confessed last week to a Sunshine Law violation. Where was the KNS? No where. The KNS limbo continues. How low can they go? It's only wrong when its people the KNS is against.

Observer's picture

jump that shark

In the KNS tradition of reporting or opining after it doesn't matter, today's editorial on Brad Anders.


Brian A.'s picture

It may just be a temporary

It may just be a temporary quirk, but the paywall is gone right now.

KC's picture

It's probably a trap.

It's probably a trap. Anyway, too little too late.

With puff pieces like the "Gov. Haslam continues rapid teacher pay Increases,"you know KNS will just continue to be an extension of the PR machine of the Haslams.

Ol' Cas must be doing cartwheels in his grave right now.

But the big McElroy compromise will be when the Pilot verdict comes in, and KNS, along with the Haslams, claim, "it'alright."

No it's not.

B Harmon's picture

Comments are up

The paywall is still down and the comments are up, at least they are having fun over at Pam Strickland's column. They have ventured far from the gist of her piece. I have noticed that there are less RWNJ trolls, more evenly balanced it seems now.

Pam Strickland's picture

Oh, Lord, I hadn't looked

Oh, Lord, I hadn't looked since I posted a link to Facebook yesterday. That was about noon and there were 60 comments then. I long ago stopped reading the comments. Those are definitely per paywall numbers -- 239 just now. But I knew from the number of nature of the emails that I'd received yesterday that I'd hit a nerve with the conservative folks. Life goes on.

Observer's picture

It's back up today. Was that

It's back up today. Was that all about Campfield?

B Harmon's picture

It was about the government

It was about the government shutdown and "obamacare".

redmondkr's picture

Now there is a pretty slick

Now there is a pretty slick business model, put the 'news' news behind a paywall, put the KNS approved propaganda out there for all to see.

JaHu's picture

I curious if the Knoxville

I curious if the Knoxville News Sentinel print subscriptions have increased since the paywall?

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