Monarch proposes sponsoring SaltWire death notices as online obituaries move to paywall

King floats idea of sponsoring SaltWire death notices as online obits go behind paywall


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“P.E.I. Premier Contemplates Government Sponsorship of Island Newspaper Obituaries”

Ever consider how a simple page of obituaries in the local newspaper can spark conversations and invoke strong feelings? Premier Dennis King acknowledges the significance of obituaries in Prince Edward Island; it’s “part of the Island DNA and a very important ritual and public service that Islanders have grown accustomed to,” he said in the legislature.

A Point of Contention: Obituaries Behind Paywall

SaltWire Network owns The Guardian and the Journal Pioneer, two of the oldest newspapers on the island. Recently, the company made the strategic decision to place online obituaries behind a paywall, granting access to subscribers only. This move has sparked controversy and raised concerns among Islanders. Premier King mentioned that an “alarming number” of people have expressed their discontent with the change, prompting him to consider whether the government should intervene.

An Appeal for Support

The company defended its decision, stating they “understand the significance of obituaries in honouring and remembering loved ones.” They’ve asked readers to support this service to keep it available and sustainable. However, there are still concerns about accessibility, especially for those who may not be able to afford a subscription.

The Premier’s Perspective

Premier King acknowledged the global trend of declining newspaper subscriptions and the rise in online readership, leading many publications to establish paywalls. This tactic poses a challenge for traditional newspapers to monetize their digital content.

Reflecting on this, King discussed the idea of government involvement in sponsoring obituaries. “Is there a way to incorporate this in? If there is, I’d be open to the conversation,” he said. This suggests a potential middle ground to ensure accessibility to a significant cultural tradition while supporting the evolving business model of the newspaper industry.

The premier’s open-mindedness to this discussion demonstrates a willingness to consider different perspectives and think outside the box for a solution that benefits both the readers and the newspaper. It brings forth a thought-provoking question: how can traditional practices and modern business models coexist harmoniously?

As this issue continues to develop, it provokes reflection on the changing landscape of local news and community tradition. Perhaps this is an opportunity for collaboration and innovation rather than a conflict between tradition and technology.


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