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Sharing opinions is reasonable price

Big Brother isn’t watching. No one is trying to steal your identity. Your answers won’t open the floodgates for junk mail or spam.

We simply want to know what you think. More specifically, national corporations and marketing firms want to know Americans’ opinions on all kinds of things.

By now visitors to The Tribune’s website have probably been asked to answer a few questions each day in order to access the full content of local news and sports.

The partnership with Google is easy to use and takes just a second or two. Those who don’t want to answer a question can instead share the article on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to gain full access.

This was not a decision that was made lightly but is simply a product of the ever-evolving structure of how news organizations afford to gather and disseminate information and remain a viable business at the same time.

The Internet has long perplexed the newspaper industry — and dozens of other content-rich industries such as magazine publishers and television producers — as everyone is trying to figure out the perfect balance between serving readers and giving away for free something that costs money to produce.

Many companies have opted to charge readers through paid websites or provide limited access to non-paying readers.

Our partnership with Google is an effort to continue to provide our readers in Lawrence County and beyond with free news in an electronic format.

We are not asking for your money, simply a few seconds of your time.

Each day readers will be asked to answer one or two questions to have near total access to the site.

That’s it.

Questions range from general ones about purchasing habits to specific ones about watching a particular show or choosing which advertisement is more appealing.

Here are a few examples:

Which one of these food items would you prefer to eat while watching a sporting event?

Popcorn

Pizza

Chicken wings

Chips

Hot dog

 

How important is new technology when considering a new vehicle?

Not at all important

Somewhat important

Very important

 

Which of the following have you heard of?

Amazon App Store

Google Play

Apple iTunes

Windows Phone Marketplace

BlackBerry App World

 

Some areas of the website including police reports, lawsuits, land transfers and other courthouse records will be handled slightly differently and a question must be answered on each individual story.

Ultimately, we want to serve our readers and provide the news in this format free of charge. This helps us to do that.

The Tribune will continue to be the best source for comprehensive news about Lawrence County, as it has been for more than 150 years.

How the news is delivered or accessed may have changed, but the basic tenets have not.

We strive to: Be factual. Be fair. Be interesting. Be relevant.

Those fundamentals will not change regardless of the format.

We also promise that the information provided in the simple surveys will not be linked back to you or cause you any headaches going forward.

Only the aggregated survey results — not individual answers — are provided to the people seeking to pick America’s collective brain.

Asking you to share your opinions seems like a far better choice than asking you to spend your hard-earned money.

 

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.