Starting today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, you can read the first of a five part investigative story entitled The Preacher's Mob, but only in the print and e-editions of the newspaper. Free online access to the story will not be allowed until Wednesday.
JSOnline states their case thusly: "EDITORS NOTE: Investigative reporting is the most expensive form of journalism produced by the Journal Sentinel newsroom. Because of the expense and resources it requires, we are giving our print and e-edition subscribers exclusive access to the Preacher's Mob series. We will be doing this on a regular basis with certain enterprise stories and investigations. Online readers will be able to see the full story later this week. For now, all readers can read this summary version below or click on several interactive and multimedia features, including a mini-documentary that contains jailhouse interviews, audio files of secret recordings of Michael Lock by a law enforcement informant, and an interactive map of key dates and places in the world of Michael Lock. With an e-edition subscription, you can read the full series as it unfolds over five days in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel starting May 17. To sign up for an e-edition, click here."
Personally, I think that the Journal Sentinel has done such an outstanding job of investigative reporting (I'm thinking especially of their Watchdog Online stories), that I'm tempted to give them some money anyway. However, this is where the "free" Internet meets up with the costs of paying a staff to produce stories like these. I don't like it. I want to be able to read about the Preacher's Mob now, for free, like I'm used to. But I certainly understand it.
What do you think?