I like to hear from readers, even if their messages aren't always pleasant.
The recent announcement that Charleston Newspapers would begin charging $5.99 a month for online subscriptions stirred up some responses.
Here is one email we got:
"I just counted 18 ads on your web version of the paper and I stopped counting. There were more. The Internet is free, so there is no cost to you for its use. Still, you want me to pay for the online version. I'll read Yahoo, Suddenlink, local TV websites and other free news sources."
Then there was this:
"I have been a faithful daily reader of the Gazette and Daily Mail online for at least the last 12 years. I will no longer be reading your newspapers in protest of this new fee. I will get my news from other local media. This fee will backfire."
Actually, as Charleston Newspapers mentioned in the announcement, we've made sure to continue providing a significant amount of content for free.
Online content is free to anyone who has a print subscription. Obituaries remain free. So do blogs. Every reader gets 10 free clicks a month on anything before being asked to subscribe.
Links from search engines like Google or social media like Facebook or Twitter get you in the door free (although clicks after that count toward your 10).
I'd make the case that $5.99 a month is relatively inexpensive — about a buck-fifty a week. The price takes into account that online delivery is less expensive than printing a newspaper and delivering it to your home.
I've long maintained that popping open a newspaper box and getting all that information for 50 cents is the best bargain in America.
Nevertheless, I get it that Charleston Newspapers is now charging for content that previously had been free to online readers. That's not going to be popular with everybody.
But as I responded to our e-mailers, providing our content and coverage does involve costs. We make a significant investment in gathering and putting out information.
The e-mails I got reminded me of a photo I saw on Twitter. It was posted after a long state Board of Education meeting in Lincoln County, where the new state superintendent was named.
The meeting started in the morning and went past 10:30 p.m.