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Editorial: Stop Walking Into My Store & Asking for Free Stuff

An email from reader:
 
I was told "premium content" stories were only when someone had to be "sent out" to cover a story. Today your lead story shows an interview with a man who appears to be sitting in the RCN office. How far did someone have to go for that? Every story is premium content today except for one sports story. Ive enjoyed your paper Mr. Monks but your move to expensive digs and the nice new electronics has certainly changed things. I know nothing in life is free but im sorry to say you are becoming very greedy sir. Not a criticism, merely an observation.
Respectfully,
(name withheld)
 
Response from The River City News editor & publisher Michael Monks:
 
Thanks for your note, (name withheld).
 
Yes, the man from the article about the children's book did visit the RCN office where we recorded a podcast with him to be released later. RCN is working to tell stories in multi-media and creative ways. The story that was marked as premium was written by an author that will be compensated by me for his work, meaning that I have a cost on my side which means I need to put a charge on your side. Otherwise, there is no story about a children's book today.
 
To clarify: The standard for premium content is not set by miles traveled for a story but rather the resources expended to create it. Compare the volume of stories on the RCN website to the NKY edition of the Enquirer or any other major, corporate media outlet in the local area, and when you see that we have more original stories about Northern Kentucky than any of them, you should know that it is done with one full-time employee (me) and four regular contract writers out in the field who sit through hours and hours of local government meetings and interviews to keep our region informed. The bigger guys have larger staffs and we still beat them, and we do it nimbly and with the humble “ask” that readers like you consider throwing a measly $5 into the till to complement the ad revenue and other money streams as we navigate the difficult and uncertain world of new media.
 
My expensive digs (man, you're right about that...) show my commitment to what I do, and create a serious, professional environment in which my product is created. My new electronics, however, are not quite yet in the cards. There is a lot of fancy new equipment that I long for so that I can do even more creative storytelling, but instead, I wait, and we use cheap laptops and mics, and we take photos with our phones, and we drive our own cars if we have them or we bike when we don't.
 
We pay for internet, phone, energy, and yes, rent, so that we can have a professional and exciting presence in the heart of downtown Covington.
 
I'll take your criticism, (name withheld), but I want you to know that I take issue with your charge that I am greedy. I start my day before most people wake up and nearly every day grind it out all the way to midnight when it's time to respond to emails from readers like the one you sent. My work and the work of my awesome and risk-taking contributors is worth paying for. I'm not going to apologize for that anymore, and I'm not going to be polite when people walk into my store and suggest that my products shouldn't have price tags on them.
 
You would not do that at any other business, but you choose to do it at mine.
 
You want my work free. You want my contractors' work free.
 
So, (name withheld), I have to say that I don't think I'm the greedy one here.
 
Here's the link to subscribe (and we thank you in advance): www.rcnky.com/content/subscribe
 
Respectfully,
Michael