Tommunisms is a blog with little original content. So that means the snark provided here has to have a source, and often it’s the hard work of people doing actual work, investigation, reporting, assembling facts and providing analysis and context. And then someone like me comes along and dismisses it, pokes fun of it, or just outright uses it to advance my agenda (“All Potshots, No Solutions”). Well, the free-loading gravy train trip may be over. The Buffalo News is erecting a Great Paywall…

Here’s a few excerpts of a letter from Warren Colville, President of The Buffalo News:

“Those who opt not to subscribe in either print or digital formats will have free access to on a limited basis, at a rate of 10 story views per month. In addition, our Buffalo News home page and section “fronts” (such as Sports, Business, etc.) will remain open to online viewers. Our Automotive, Real Estate, Classified, Death Notices, Rental and Pet sections will also remain open to all.”

But don’t worry, if you are a print subscriber (even if Sundays only) you are in the clear:

“As a print subscriber, beginning on Sept. 1, you will have access to new and improved digital content – at no extra cost. This digital content will be delivered on multiple platforms, which means you can get your News in whatever format is most convenient and desirable for you.”

Don’t like newsprint stains on your hands at all? Go digital completely:

“As of Oct. 1, we will begin offering premium digital content on all platforms for one low weekly rate of $2.77. And for those who choose to pay automatically via credit card, that rate will be even lower, at $2.49 per week. These rates apply to those who want a digital-only subscription.”

Fortunately, I subscribe to the Sunday edition, because I love those funny pages. (Except for that irresponsible bastard, Moose Miller). But fear not, there are always ways around the ten story limit (“Any story that a reader clicks to from Facebook, Twitter or other social platforms (reddit, Pinterest, Google+, farq, digg etc. won’t count against the 10 story limit.”)

But really, where else you will find out about what’s happening around town? The Penny-Saver?! You need to have a good reporting pool, and regardless of what Carl Paladino’s billboards say, the News has it. (As for people like Donn Esmonde and Bob McCarthy, that’s another story…)

However, there may have been a better way to cover costs… How about a micro-transaction system, where you get “nickel-and-dime’d” on every story you actually want to read? Or every article is free on the website, but instead of providing the entire “who, what, where when and why” you only get to see the “who, what, and where”  for free? The rest you have to be a subscriber for. Okay, maybe not a good idea…

But, as a subscriber, part of the benefits should include the ability to upvote/downvote articles and more importantly, the comments that people put up, like this gem:

While the actual reporting of news shouldn’t be held up to a vote, we can judge pieces by their accuracy and completeness, usefulness, etc. And for the comics, having a say on what’s funny is a must. For example, why does the News continue to waste valuable ink on publishing that garbage “Moose Miller”?! That lazy, piece of shit ne’er-do-well is not funny and a terrible role model for people: slovenly, unable to hold down a job, probably abusing public assistance, makes his wife do all the work, may be a junk hoarder, has unlicensed animals on his property (and a mole infestation he actively nurtures), and overall lowers the property value of his neighborhood so much that Chester Crabtree next door can’t even sell his home and move to a better place? Plus, Moose has on numerous occasions forcibly broke into Crabtree’s home to steal food right from the refrigerator and has even trained a parrot to steal BAR-B-Q chicken right off his grill and deliver into Miller’s greedy maw, and then has the audacity to use the man’s in-ground pool without permission, AND invite his deadbeat friends and relatives in like he owns the goddamn place! Call the cops, protective services and animal control on that pile of human excrement!

I may have gotten off topic here, but you get the idea, Buffalo News: embrace the digital fully, and allow reader input like never before. It’s a brave new world, and I’m a paying customer

Fortunately, Tommunisms will always be free, but as you know, you get what you pay for…