Stay informed. Read the news.

You’ll see those simple yet incredibly powerful words on the Pineandlakes Echo Journal’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pineandlakesecho/). We have it as our cover photo.

For nearly 20 years, people reading our newspaper content online at www.pineandlakes.com have been able to do so for free. Meanwhile, our faithful subscribers to our printed newspaper that’s delivered every Thursday morning to their home or business have paid for our news. They haven’t paid a whole lot, but they’ve paid to read our stories and look at our photos.

Faithful readers know that has now changed. As our industry continues to adapt to the changing world where so many people go online for, well, just about everything, we’ve rolled out a new subscription - or membership - model.

We are now charging people to read our news online. I’ve long believed all newspapers should have done this from the very first time they put a news story on their website. Granted, it was all so new back new. We were all treading on new territory.

Now, in order to survive our fast-paced world, we are charging $9.99 a month for people to access stories, photos and advertisements on our website, or pay a reduced rate of $100 per year to save 20 bucks.

This includes access to our e-edition, which is the printed edition online. You can’t touch the newsprint, but you can see that week’s newspaper exactly as it looks in print, turning the pages with a click of a button.

Try it out - for a limited time you can try a month as an online member for just 99 cents. The membership comes with other perks, including access to all Forum Communications (our parent company) newspaper websites.

For those old-fashioned readers (like me) who prefer a hard copy of a newspaper to thumb through rather than the computer screen, for that same price of $9.99 a month (or pay $100 for the year) you can get the digital membership and its perks along with a printed Echo Journal delivered every Thursday. That’s the best value, and what I call the best of both worlds.

If you happen to be out of town, you don’t have to wait to catch up on the news. You can access it online.

To activate a membership, just go to www.pineandlakes.com, scroll to the bottom and click “Subscribe to the Paper” under “Newspaper,” then choose your subscription option.

If you were already a subscriber to our print edition, you qualify for the digital membership (and you’re grandfathered in to our reduced subscription rate of $54.08 per year - thank you for your loyalty!). Just click the blue button “Activate Membership.”

I sincerely hope you will buy a pineandlakes.com membership, and that you’ll encourage your friends, relatives and acquaintances to do the same. You’ll find all our stories, photos and more online, including breaking news. Our website has always been the place where we can share news that we don’t think should wait until the next print issue.

Just last week we shared online that the Pequot Lakes football game was moved from Friday to Thursday because of impending weather. We learned that fact the day after we buttoned up our print edition for the week. It’s always frustrating when timely news happens too late for our print edition, but our website has allowed us to share that news in a timely manner.

Last Friday morning, we learned the Pine River-Backus football game scheduled that night was canceled when the opponent forfeited because the team didn’t have enough healthy players. Again, we got that news on our website as soon as possible.

So please: Stay informed. Read the news. Support your local hometown newspaper with a digital membership.