Although I am certainly happy for him as he further advances his career in journalism, it was bittersweet to learn reporter Steve Bohnel will be leaving the Frederick News-Post.

For the past two and half years, Steve took an active look into our town's government and attended many meetings, whether in-person or virtually. I always felt that Steve was genuinely interested in our small town and not just simply doing his job.

Thank you, Steve, for reporting on Emmitsburg well. I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors.

(7) comments

teadoffinfrederickcounty

No doubt Steve has arrived at the same position as the best FNP reporters; get out will the getting it good. Editor Allen Etzler, who did a great job, seized the opportunity and moved on to be the PIO for the City of Frederick. Longtime photographer Graham Cullen left to become editor-in-chief in northern Virginia.

I guess no one wants to be the last person out the door and assume the responsibility of turning out the lights. Good luck Steve Bohnel.

We need Katherine Heerbrandt more than ever!

mrnatural1

You may be right teadoffinfrederickcounty.

The out-of-town owner of the FNP, Ogden, just announced that they are jacking the subscription rate from $96 to almost $160 per year ($13/month). They seem to be thinking that because they have a quasi monopoly on FredCo news, that their subscribers will pay whatever they demand (I just canceled after decades as a subscriber).

Ogden is taking a big risk. Guaranteed some subscribers will cancel. Also, you can bet the WaPo (and/or Baltimore Sun) is looking at what Ogden is charging and thinking it looks like a pretty sweet market. The Post already has a MoCo section. Their current special offer -- which I just renewed at for a 2nd year -- is just $29. That's $29 per year -- for the Washington Post! They could easily add full coverage of FredCo for WAY less than $160 per year.

Ogden's short-sighted greed could very well be the beginning of the end for the FNP.

public-redux

Does your cancellation mean you soon won’t be gracing the comment section?

mrnatural1

Thank you for noticing and asking public.

Yes, unfortunately Ogden (owner of the FNP) has decided to jack the subscription price from $96/year to almost $160 ($13/month). That's a 63% increase.

My wife and I live on my modest pension. We make it work, but we have to be careful about our expenses. My current subscription runs out next month.

Even if we could afford ~$160 per year, that is excessive, as is a 63% rate hike. A small increase of a few percent to cover inflation would be understandable, but not a $60 bump. A cynical person might conclude that Ogden is trying to take advantage of their quasi monopoly on FredCo news coverage.

They aren't budging on the $160 either. I was offered a slight discount, but told that the rate would soon increase to $13/month, so I passed.

The "normal" rate for the Post is $100 per year, but they routinely have promo deals. I've been paying just $29 per year. The NYT is $48.

At almost $100/year the FNP was already expensive, relative to the national newspapers. I've only been paying that much because I believe local papers are important and I wanted to support the FNP. I have no reason to read the majority of the paper (no kids in school, etc). I looked at it as a combination subscription and charitable donation. Now I feel like Ogden is taking advantage of their subscribers and no longer deserves our support.

I'm considering starting a FredCo forum, but forums are difficult to get to 'critical mass'. People (myself included) need reminders, otherwise it's 'out of sight, out of mind'. Also, while the FNP comment section has plenty of flaws, it has the advantage of being immediately below each article.

Everybody and their brother has a blog. I'm not really interested in 'talking to the hand'.

Anyway, if I do start a forum you will definitely be on the invitation list.

francesca_easa

$13/month for local news, created by folks who work all night to print the news, delivered by folks who get up at the crack of dawn to deliver in all kinds of weather and reporters and camera crew that have to be available around the clock (not to mention the cost of paper, ink, printing machines, etc) sounds like a bargain to me. I am sure that there are folks that spend more than that each month on Starbucks coffee.

mrnatural1

Absolutely francesca. Everyone has their own idea of a good value. There may be people willing to pay $500/year or more for the FNP. That's their decision to make.

Due to the drastic rate increase, some subscribers will stay and some will leave. I'm sure Ogden has done the math and determined that the maximum profit is obtained from charging $13/month ($156/year). Fewer subscribers, but each paying significantly more. Ka-ching! It's their paper, they can do as they wish.

To be crystal clear, I am in no way disparaging the employees of the FNP, who do a fine job. I do however question why an out of state owner, Ogden, feels it necessary to charge almost $160 per year for a relatively small local paper. Our subscriptions to the two largest national papers (the WaPo and the NYT) cost half that much -- combined.

The degree of the increase, ~63%, is concerning as well.

As for Starbucks -- you're right. In fact, there are people that spend over $100/month there. Again, to each their own, but the fact that some people purchase overpriced coffee (or anything else) is irrelevant. Each purchase should be evaluated individually, on its merits. I've never purchased coffee at Starbucks, but even if I did it would have no bearing on my opinion about Ogden charging almost $160 per year for the FNP. One excessive expense does not justify others.

At least coffee drinkers have other options -- Ogden essentially has a monopoly on local FredCo news and they are milking it.

But hey, that's capitalism, right? Supply and demand. Free market. If low income households cannot afford the paper, them's the breaks. The bottom line rules.

allie1115

Oh no! It is bittersweet indeed. I didn’t know Steve was leaving. I wish him well. Hoping though we have a reporter that will be as driven and as responsive as he has been. Best wishes Steve!

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