A Bold New Way for aNewsCafe

Folks, we're building a wall...

... a paywall, that is. Actually, because the lion's share of our content - 90 percent - will be free and available to everyone - what we're implementing here at aNewsCafe.com is less of a wall, and more like a lightweight bifold screen.

Either way, this new paid-subscription system for top content is something -- back in those heady launch days of 2007 -- that I said I'd never do. Today, it's a necessary action I believe we must now take to stay in business.

Earlier this year, when I pulled back the curtain and shared with you our ongoing financial challenges -- some of the same challenges that vex bigger and better funded media outlets -- many of you stepped up as voluntary subscribers. I thank every one of you, and those of you who have contributed aNewsCafe.com since its inception. To all of you, words fail to adequately convey the depth of my gratitude.

Throughout an extremely eventful economic decade, aNewsCafe.com has persevered and evolved into something truly special because of each of our contributors: readers, advertisers and content-generators alike. You are aNewsCafe. Your good will and curiosity, your commitment and enthusiasm are the life blood of this site we have created together.

Back in 2007 I promised you that aNewsCafe.com would never implement a paywall. That is a promise I must now revise. The pressing question has become: Do you value the news, information and community you find here every day enough to pay for it?

Beginning this Thurs., July 26, all premium stories (primarily found the top, main box) will be accessible only via aNewsCafe.com's paywall. You may choose a monthly amount as a subscription, with $5 being the minimum amount for full monthly access to all lead stories (including those in the archives), and the sky being the limit on the maximum subscription side.  Everything else - the majority of our stories - on the site remains free and open to the public.

Click here to become a subscriber so you don't miss a single lead story.

My most fervent hope is that our partial paywall will allow aNewsCafe.com to continue to evolve, expanding to include new features, faces and sections (stay tuned to this space to see what's coming soon), with coverage we've longed to do but could not, due to budgetary constraints.  Local sports and podcasts, cooking videos and a dedicated news reporter: these are a few of our plans for the future of aNewsCafe.com. The paywall will not affect current subscribers, those making regular donations, or content contributors. If you fall into one of those categories, and you receive a paywall email when you log on to a lead story, kindly contact webmaster Joe Domke at [email protected] and tell him why you're exempt.

Thank you in advance for your patience. There will be glitches -- there always are -- but I hope by now you know that we are committed to making your visit to aNewsCafe.com the best experience it can be, so we'll fix whatever needs to be fixed and keep moving forward.  Always keep moving forward.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends.

With love and the deepest appreciation,

Doni

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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92 Responses

  1. 0.0001 says:

    It’s been fun. Good luck.

  2. bruce vojtecky says:

    Will I be able to subscribe monthly, like other media, with my credit card. Every time I have tried in the past it requires a PayPal account which I don’t have and don’t want.

  3. Hollis Pickett says:

    I say it’s about darn time!

  4. Beverly Stafford says:

    You regular readers knew I’d chime in on this; so here I go. As Hollis Pickett said, “it’s about darn time!” I told Doni months ago that pay-for-play was a necessity, but she and the inner circle were adamant that ANC should be free. “Should be” and reality have collided. Our favorite news site will be gone if more readers don’t pony up. ANC has anywhere from 60,000 to 117,000+ unique monthly visitors. Some very impressive numbers. If 40 of us contributed $25 a month, the site could not just survive but flourish. If a mere 200 of those thousands of unique monthly visitors donated the $5 monthly minimum, Doni could breathe a sigh of relief. I’m happy to see that Joe has found a way to circumvent the need for a PayPal account. Even though I didn’t want it, I opened one just to be able to donate to ANC. I understand not wanting one, and I may change to what Joe has set up.

    So fellow fans, we’ve hit the wall, the paywall, that is. The free lunch is gone. All those great columns by Doni, R.V., Deb, Mistress, Femme (I miss you!), Robert, (apologies to all I’ve not mentioned) and the equally wonderful comments (well, most are wonderful) will be gone. Where would we be without Steve’s thoughtful (mostly) comments? It will be as though Barbara has hit her delete button not just on the trolls but on all of us.

    As the television commercial asks, “What’s in your wallet?” It’s time to pull out that credit card and pay up – or the curtain will drop and the site will go dark.

    • Joe Domke Joe Domke says:

      Thanks for your support, Beverly, we’re lucky to have readers like you!

      Email me if you ever want to switch from PayPal and I’ll help you out.

  5. Eleanor says:

    Well, I am in for $25 recurring a month. I feel a connection to this site and its writers, and (most of) the commenters, too. I suspect very, very many of us feel the same way. I just encourage you to do what you are comfortable with – the $5 paywall amount would be a great start – and go ahead and set it up (recurring is the easiest for me).

    Things would not be the same around here without ANC, so let’s do this. It’s now or never again.

  6. chris solberg says:

    If I get enough homeless advocate subscribers, will the tone of ANewsCafe take a more compassionate view of our homeless population?

    Im sure you remember Scott Mobily and Ryan Sabalow….

    Can I be honest here without comment being removed?

    Several of your “current subscribers” are powerful anti homeless advocates in the community with positions in Redding city government. And quite frankly the homeless do not need any more journalistic demonetization, The Record Searchlight has been doing quite well in that respect.

    Have a homeless advocate on your writing staff?

    My writing is a little to hot for this site perhaps….

    “Redding’s Marijuana recreational high helps homeless to continue to die”…….

    http://reddinghomeless.blogspot.com/2018/07/marijuana-profit-fueled-redding-police.html

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Chris, do you not remember the series of articles Doni ran on the homeless camps in our area? And also the ones about the mission on State Street? She was very supportive of their plight and certainly non-judgmental. Since there are so very few “current subscribers,” I don’t know who the “powerful anti-homeless advocates” are that you refer to. I’m one who is anti-criminal since my yard has been invaded by trespassers. And I no longer walk by the library or South City Park thanks to criminal element. There’s a huge difference between being anti-criminal and anti-homeless.

      • chris solberg says:

        I do indeed… Knocked my homeless advocacy back into the stone age . I pleaded with then police chief Hansen, Record Searchlight reporters, City of Redding staff NOT TO TAKE OR PUBLICLY SHOW pictures of homeless toilets or defecation because it would demonize them and promote vigilantist justice and violence against homeless.

        Doni in her Lake Blvd / Masonic homeless series was first to show them all..

        Redding Coalition For The Homeless and National Coalition On Homelessness and Poverty share the same philosophy …

        “We are against practices and laws that unfairly single out homeless people and criminalize them for everyday living and life-sustaining activities.”

        Alas Doni had the honor of being the first to show these things here…

        • Your comments are especially timely – and a little ironic – considering tomorrow’s lead story by R.V. Scheide.

          Stay tuned.

        • Beverly Stafford says:

          I’ve been mulling over your comment about how Doni practically single-handedly negated all your efforts on behalf of the homeless by publishing photos of the illegal camps. “Alas Doni had the honor of being the first to show these things here…” It’s not as though the local citizenry is so ignorant that we don’t know what those illegal camps look like. Shining a light on what should be pristine areas wasn’t a sudden revelation. Perhaps your efforts should be directed toward eliminating those illegal camps and establishing safe areas for the homeless. Then our open spaces would be available for all to enjoy.

          • chris solberg says:

            I said “NOT TO TAKE OR PUBLICLY SHOW pictures of homeless toilets or defecation because it would demonize them and promote vigilantist justice and violence against homeless.”……not publishing photos of the illegal camps.

            I shine the light as well….. I was there first….. and I showed no toilets or poop buckets….

            Second of a video series depicting overwhelming evidence of multiple homeless camps and shelter emergency in the Masonic area of north Redding. Evidence of children found as well.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgu6nu9md40

            Second of a video series depicting overwhelming evidence of multiple homeless camps and shelter emergency in the Masonic area of north Redding. Evidence of children found as well.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgu6nu9md40

          • Richard Christoph says:

            From KRCR’s website, 7-25-18:

            “After investigating the Redding Fire Department says the fire was intentionally set in an area of well established transient camping.”

            Reporters report. That’s their job.

    • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

      “If I get enough homeless advocate subscribers, will the tone of ANewsCafe take a more compassionate view of our homeless population?”

      Journalism is not a popularity contest and is not swayed by the views of subscribers. If you want to subscribe, subscribe. If you don’t, don’t. We don’t take bribes to influence our writers and it is offensive of you to suggest otherwise.

      • Linda Cooper says:

        My sentiments as well. Although I suppose someone could start an on-line publication dedicated to a “compassionate view of the homeless population.” I’m sure it’s a lot of work, however.

      • Deb Deb says:

        Well said, Barbara!

      • chris solberg says:

        Really ?… Think so ?… Then break the news media ban placed on me and by all means print my link as an editorial 🙂 Or delete my comments like you always do Barbara

        • Mistress of the Mix Mistress of the Mix says:

          Chris, I’d like to suggest that you examine your approach. You come across as super angry and confrontational. I know you’re very passionate about the homeless, but as an advocate, I believe your mission should be to make friends and gain allies, and this isn’t the way that you’ll achieve that goal. Maybe recruit someone else with more refined diplomatic skills to do your public outreach and you’ll have more success. Best of luck to you.

  7. Hollyn Chase says:

    I have always believed that one should vote with one’s wallet. When something is important, I pay for it. There are certain charities and even retail venues that I want to grow and prosper—so I make it a point to support them.
    So here’s the irony: I believe that the free press in this country is in a precarious position—under attack by our current administration and vulnerable to the changing times that seem to value rhetoric over facts. I especially cherish the kind of news that aNewscafe offers—local and interactive. And yet I have not been a subscriber. Thanks for the wake-up call Doni—I’m subscribing today and I will encourage my friends to do so. If we want a “free press” it seems we should support it financially.

    • Well said, Hollyn. As a contributor of content, you would already have access to the entire site without paying, so I especially appreciate your becoming a paid subscriber. That means a lot. Thank you.

  8. Matt Grigsby says:

    I’ve mentioned it before, but if you skipped one Mochalotta Whatever coffee a month, you’d have a recurring donation to a remarkable community space.
    It’s painless and rewarding.

  9. Linda Cooper says:

    I just signed up with my credit card for the $60/year. A couple of months ago I also contributed one time. My only snag was when I was prompted for my user name, that didn’t work. However, my email address worked. I’m sure this is operator error! Thank you for maintaining as Matt Grigsby wrote, a “remarkable community space.” And perhaps with the increased, steady, commitment – even more advertisers will be interested. So, Doni, was your finger trembling when you pushed the post button? (Smile.)

  10. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Step up, people.

    I say that as a semi-regular contributor who earns not one thin dime from my contributions—I write my pieces purely for the joy of stirring the pot. I also hang out at ANC because I appreciate both the offerings of Doni’s contributors AND in equal measure the comments sections. It’s not a typical comments section—anonymous, foaming-at-the-mouth crazies tossing slurs at one another. I enjoy the company here.

    Doni informed me the other day that my latest lede article will be the first behind the paywall. If she doesn’t change her mind, I will be honored to be ANC’s “test fart.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHIvCKoCVBw

    • Steve, thank you for your support of aNewsCafe.com, not just as someone who stirs the pot in both comments and articles, but as a contributing subscriber.

      Regarding the – eh hem – ‘test fart” Thursday is the day we – as Matt Grigsby would say – pull the pin, and the day my column runs.

      I’m still deciding whose column to run which day, but on tap already this week is R.V. Scheide, you, Hal Johnson, me and Doug Craig.

      You may or may not be the test fart. Stay tuned. 😉

  11. Shelly Shively says:

    Just signed up as a recurring contributor : D
    Thanks, Joe, for enlisting a process that is easy to navigate!
    Wishing anewscafe a vibrant future!

  12. Deb Deb says:

    *Raises hand from breezy Scotland*

    Speaking up as an unpaid content contributor who happily writes a column for ANC for the sheer enjoyment of it as well as the wonderful interaction with ANC readers… Well, if I am all altruistic and selfless I can (and do) say that ANC is a wonderful publication which Doni and Joe pour their hearts, their talents, their time, and most likely their own financial backing into, and their vision and hard work and passion deserve whatever help anyone can give. Not just because they are nice people (and they are!), but because this is a place where integrity and courage matter, in bringing local and wider issues forward (along with fun stuff). So there’s that!

    Speaking selfishly? Well.. If ANC disappears, I will not just lose a wonderful place to contribute to, my first-ever (and only) published monthly column, and the privilege of sharing some stories with all of you, but I will lose you, the readers, many who have become friends here in the comments section and beyond.

    Which might not matter to you, if we haven’t become friends and you aren’t a fan (and I don’t expect everyone to be a fan OR a friend!) So going back to the common good: if ANC disappears, readers would lose so much more – local news, discussing issues, finding answers and solutions together, having a laugh or learning about something new, and keeping abreast of what’s important in your area, just to name a few of the things that happen here.

    So even just looking at the lowest subscription amount… sixteen(ish) cents a day is probably something many people can manage, right?

    Wishing Doni and Joe and ANC all the success possible. As long as you’re here, I’ll be here, and happy for the privilege!

    • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

      Thank you, Deb. On days when it’s all I can do to not tell some people, “…and the horse you rode in on,” it’s good to read a very kind and supportive post. <3

      • Deb Deb says:

        Barb, you are a star, and I know ANC could not exist so beautifully without you. I hope that there aren’t too many icky comments to this post, as that is not at all deserved and if people are being unkind, that is just really a huge shame.

        Sending you strength! <3

      • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

        Barbara, lest you think that I take you for granted because of my occasional whine about not being allowed to call people poo poo heads, please know that I often think about how nice it is to be spared the mud-slinging and personal attacks that are so common on other sites. Thank you.

  13. Eleanor says:

    *Raises hand from 108 degree Redding*

    Well said, Deb! I would sure miss you, your writing and your photos.

    We can’t let that happen! We can do this!

  14. Candace says:

    Smart move, smart publication!

  15. Karen Bennett says:

    With much appreciation for all ANC is!

  16. Doug Mudford says:

    You asked for a contribution to help our (it is ours) publication survive, not to make you wealthy.
    You asked for a helping hand to expand the site.
    As a modest goal, you asked only to stem your losses.
    Those are incredibly kind requests.
    In return you’ve created a site where civil discourse and a smile can start each day.
    You and A NEWS CAFE are absolutely necessary for our health.
    Of course I’ll subscribe.
    Doug M.

  17. Eleanor says:

    An excellent and exact way to describe the situation, Doug. You have a marvellous way with words, so I am thinking we will soon be seeing you in the mirror, yes? Yes!

  18. Dear every one of you,
    I was in meetings this a.m., and it killed me to not be here in real time to see your comments.

    I started to reply to every one of you (well, almost all of you), but I realized I’d be repeating myself.

    Words nearly fail me today. Just know that I am so moved and so touched by your support. Many of you who are commenting here are already subscribers and supporters. Some of you are new to the process and are subscribing for the first time. I appreciate you all so much.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

  19. Doug Mudford says:

    Thank you Eleanor. Last week I’m ashamed to say, I indicated to Doni I was busy writing a book so I didn’t even have time to reflect. What pompous B.S. If Doni, can use them, Reflections will be submitted on a regular basis starting next week.
    Doug M.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Looking forward to more reflections.

    • Eleanor says:

      Thank you, Doug! You are the best, and I am looking forward very much to Reflections. Your particular type of character, integrity and humor are what makes ANC our go-to place.
      p.s. cannot wait for the book………….

    • I wish we had the ability to do a happy dance emoji, because I’d have a string of them here. Can’t wait.

  20. Pamela says:

    I’m a subscriber at the 5$ minimum for a few months now. In the last 3 months, my income decreased by 200$ a month. And due to a necessary move, my rent and utilities increased by 385$ a month.
    I was below poverty level prior to that already

    When it really hit me on July 1 that I seriously needed to eliminate any outgo I could, A News Cafe popped up. And all thought of eliminating it was laughable

    Sometimes ANewsCafe is the thing that keeps me sane for another day and working towards change for the good
    I love the content and the open discussion it facilitates. And the laughs. Thanks guys!

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Oh, Pamela, your comment truly touched me. Knowing that you’ve been hit hard financially but still find that donating to ANC is not only worthwhile but essential warms my heart. Thank you so very much.

    • Pamela, it hurts my heart to think of you – or anyone – who’s been a financial contributor to aNewCafe.com and is struggling, but you still continued to give. I’m humbled beyond measure. Thank you, Pamela. I’m so glad you’re part of this online family.

      Your comment gives me the idea to create a scholarship of sorts for those who truly cannot swing an extra $5 a month. I know what it’s like to be that strapped. I get it.

  21. bruce vojtecky says:

    While I have had several Letters To The Editor published on here, it appears that I am the only conservative doing so and I haven’t lived in Shasta County for twelve years. Hopefully that will change and some local conservatives will write LTTE.
    And after the first I will start $5 a month, the equivalent of one milkshake coffee from Starbucks.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Honest, Bruce, many of us are conservative in our thinking, especially financially. I just don’t want women’s reproductive rights tampered with by a stacked court. Nor do I agree with a misogynist POTUS, Trump or Clinton, or any of their congressional followers. I’m pretty much alone being a moderate populist.

    • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

      Bruce,
      We have had conservatives complain that their point of view is not adequately represented here. Both Doni and I have responded more times than I can count that they are welcome to submit their own LTTE or articles for publication.
      Aside from you…. *crickets*

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        I remember “Coach Bob” constantly complaining that conservative voices were excluded from ANC, and subsequently being challenged by Doni to submit something for publication. I even offered to edit a submittal prior to publication if he had something to say and wasn’t confident in his writing.

        As with Barbara, the response: Crickets chirping.

      • bruce vojtecky says:

        Barbara and Doni, I appreciate you printing my LTTEs even though they seem to provoke negative posts. Others need to get over their bruised easily egos and write LTTEs. There are several on here that post that I would like to read more than posted links that are pulled from multiple sources all saying the same thing.
        But if you give an editorial link to a certain homeless advocate on here I want my own editorial link to elsewhere.

  22. Rich S. says:

    I wanted to signup for a monthly subscription, however, I noticed that I am unable to use PayPal. Do you have plans to offer subscriptions using PayPal ?

  23. George Parker says:

    Thanks for setting up the easier pay system. I’m glad to support this local endeavor.

  24. Randall Smith Randall Smith says:

    Doni,
    Judy and I are in for sure. Let us know when our contribution is exhausted, or we can renew with an annual rate after Christmas.

    • Dearest Randy, no worries! You and the lovely Judy paid for an annual subscription months ago. You’re in! Thank you so much!

      Joe is keeping track of readers’ subscription anniversary dates. Right, Joe? (He’s nine hours ahead and in bed now. He’ll reply tomorrow.)

  25. Karen Bennett says:

    Scholarships ~ count me in to help fund

  26. Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    This is a great change Doni. As an artist I hear, and it’s true “If you give it away it’s not as appreciated as if you sold it.” I contribute to Jefferson Public Radio’s Classics and News because, while I could listen for free, I would be bereft if if were not part of my life. I feel the same about A News Cafe.
    I signed up for a monthly donation, but I’d like so sign up for some volunteer time also.

    • Wow. Double thanks! Volunteer time? This is a first, for sure. But I gratefully accept. (I’ll email you, Joanne.)

    • Mistress of the Mix Mistress of the Mix says:

      Bless you, Joanne. Some research was done many, many years ago and only about one out of every ten people listening to public radio actually contribute to keep it on the air. These days, since about 88% of our contributions come directly from listener donations or underwriters, its more important than ever! I feel like JPR and A News Cafe have the same type of base audience…thoughtful, inquisitive people interested in respectful dialogue and gaining a deeper understanding of the world around them.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      I contribute to JPR also, Joanne. In addition, we’d be “bereft” if KIXE went off the air; so they are recipients of our donations, too.

  27. Before I call it a night, I wanted to thank you all for being here, for reading and responding. I’m delighted to announce that aNewsCafe.com gained 18 new subscribers today.

    I’m very grateful to every one of you who’ve shown your support this most tangible way, by becoming a paid subscriber.

    We still have a few days before we implement the paywall on lead stories. The real test will be what happens after Thursday. I’m curious, hopeful and optimistic.

    Stay tuned.

    Good night, dear ones. Sweet dreams.

    • Linda Cooper says:

      Fingers crossed. As an aside, when I worked and had to start charging for some special events, I called the fees “giving people an opportunity to contribute.” Thank you for a worthy publication, and allowing me the opportunity to give.

  28. Ann Webber says:

    Very well deserved! You are doing real journalism and I am pleased that you are going to be in a position to continue!

  29. Kris Hegland says:

    Have been enjoying your writing for close to 20 years. I will be subscribing in just a moment. Please keep the quality local news and commentary coming. Thanks.

  30. AJ AJ says:

    I learned years ago (the hard way, I might add), that we humans simply do not appreciate something unless it has cost us something. Having run a school program that cost more than the school budget allowed, I ALWAYS made sure there were ways the kids (and/or parents) could work to raise money. We gave away scholarships, to be sure . . . but there was always “sweat equity”contributions required. GOOD FOR ANC FOR PROVIDING US EACH A WAY TO DEMONSTRATE THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS VEHICLE IN OUR LIVES!

  31. Sheila Barnes says:

    Well, time to increase my monthly subscription amount!

  32. Linda Cooper says:

    Hey, has anybody noticed the added bonus with being a subscriber? When I log on to ANC, up in the right hand corner there is a friendly greeting that states, “Howdy,” (and my name)! Just saying…

  33. Tammy says:

    We are happy to support you and A News Cafe on an ongoing plan. We appreciate you and enjoy your writings and other articles. Thanks for sharing your stories with the masses. I hope that many more will sign up as well. Take care.

  34. bruce vojtecky says:

    My only problem with the paywall starting Thursday is that my retirement checks come in between the 1st and 14th and I will be unable to start my subscription until then. Will I be unable to view the articles until then.

  35. Richard Christoph says:

    JPR, KIXE, and ANC. Each is vital for the mental health of our community.

  36. Patricia Bay says:

    ANewsCafe is a vital, timely and enduring publication worthy of anyone’s financial support. I think bottom line for many people is the answer to the question, “do I get anything worthwhile for my money?” The answer is a resounding “YES.” ANewsCafe will make you laugh, cry, learn things, raised your ire, get you thinking, encouraged your own voice and help you feel informed. What more could anyone ask? So for the price of a coffee shop drink or a beer, you get something a lot more worthwhile… and with zero calories.

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