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Subscribe, subscribe

Later today, content, including this blog, will become available through digital subscription, as previously announced.

I am touched at hearing from a number of readers that they plan to subscribe, principally for access to this blog, the joke of the week, and the word of the week.

Some details may be helpful:

The Baltimore Sun’s customer service line is 410-332-6807

The email address is

You can fill out a contact form for asking questions at

You can find @SunDigitalSubs on Twitter

And there’s the FAQ on digital subscriptions:

I understand the reasons for which some of you are choosing not to subscribe, and I hope that you will at least take advantage of the fifteen free page views a month. And perhaps revisit your decision later.

And now, your word of the week: bloviate.



Posted by John McIntyre at 8:53 AM | | Comments (6)


The Sun's website might gain some new subscribers. But this plan will cost you a number of print subscribers, including me and at least 10 friends, relatives or acquaintances whom I know of.

Until very recently, I subscribed to The Sun in print, but checked the website throughout the day for breaking news and for features not available in the print edition.

I understand that people reading the website and not subscribing are not "paying the freight," and I understand the economic decisions newspapers are making in putting up paywalls.

But I was already paying my share.

With other newspapers, including The New York Times and I believe The Wall Street Journal, website (and smartphone, and tablet) access is included in the price of a print subscription. I don't get the Journal, but I'm glad to pay for the Sunday Times. I principally get it because I like the print paper, but I enjoy getting the online access as a result.

As a subscriber for years, being asked to pay more to read the website is insulting. (And no, the "discount" offered for print subscribers does not make this better.) So I will read neither, instead relying on the numerous TV and radio stations that will steal and thinly rewrite your stories.

That's not right, but neither is what The Sun is doing to its dwindling base of print subscribers. If this is how you treat us, soon you won't have any of us left.


It really is irksome to have to pay for both print and online editions. But I don't get the Sun blogs with the print edition, and I can't read the online edition at the breakfast table. The Sun blogs - yours and those of Frank Roylance, Tim Smith, Jay Hancock, and Michael Dresser - are first rate. I would be loath to lose them. But I really dislike having my news read to me from a television machine, so here I am subscribing to both. It is most definitely a test of my loyalty to the Sun.

Please, John, don't write more than 15 worthwhile blog entries each month. Thank you.

Oh dear, I didn't see this coming... for this blog. I'm one of the readers with no particular links to Baltimore, and of course can understand the struggle of news media to adapt and invent business models that will make it possible for them to strive when their publications are primarily delivered electronically. But of course I'm not an intended customer for the Sun - I've only lived in this country for a few months and am considering a subscription to my own local paper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, of not much interest I'd wager to the other readers on this thread.

Switching on the great pay wall, however, is a huge step that requires consideration. One strength of the web-based publishing model is ease of linking, that is placing explicit references, to other context. Advertising uses this, but more importantly, it is the lifeblood of certain modes of writing. Such as the blog style. That the Sun should include blog-type features in the subscription model makes me wonder if they have understood the harm they're doing. Other language and editing blogs, many with international readership, will have little incentive commenting on, linking to and engaging with John's excellent stuff because they obviously don't want to annoy their readers, who just like myself, have little reason to subscribe to the whole paper. So no, I haven't bought my way. I have, of course, mentioned the Sun a lot of times in conversations with friends when I otherwise wouldn't have and would hope that the little bit of informal advertising, the little bit of raised awareness of this publication I created because I read John's posts, was of marginal use to the Sun.

I'm not convinced that the subscription model doesn't have its place in the digital media world; or rather, there are places where it clearly does. But it's not a topic you want to approach with a hatchet as you're faced with the risk of cutting off a lot of your green shoots along with the ugly freeloaders.

As an international reader, I certainly won't be subscribing, though I happily subscribe to my local paper. I'm glad they're leaving us the 15 views per month. I do suppose this means the end of my reading the comments; 15 isn't so many views after all.

This has probably been covered by previous posts/comments, but it's disappointing to see that there won't be a "soft" wall, ala NYT, for social media referrals. The dedicated You Don't Say-ers could simply click through your Twitter feed without affecting the 15-view meter. Alas, it appears that's not the case, via this conveniently worded Q-and-A:
"We encourage links from Facebook, Twitter, search engines, blogs and social media. When you visit through a link from one of these channels, that article (or blog post, etc.) counts toward your monthly limit of 15 free pages. "

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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