It is well known that the Internet changed the newspaper and publishing industry. One casualty of the Internet is The Topsail Voice newspaper. The Topsail Voice ended publication in March 2012 when it was purchased by The Pender Post. You can now access The Pender-Topsail Post & Voice at postvoiceonline.com.
The Topsail Voice was an English language community newspaper based in Burgaw, North Carolina. Those familiar with North Carolina may know of Topsail beach or Topsail Island on the Outer Banks. What is interesting is Pender County is a very large county which includes Burgaw, North Carolina which is an hour drive from Topsail Beach. Most small town local newspapers do not cover news that is an hours drive. While some may drive an hour to go get a Wilmington, NC CEREC dental crown that is a once a year trip.
Like most small town newspaper, The Pender-Topsail Post Voice has a website but the newspaper is not easily accessible. You have to login and join to read most of the news which is a .pdf style reader format. It has always been fascinating to us that small town newspapers (especially in the South) have some of the most fascinating and viral news stories yet they will never be linked to and go viral because they are behind a paywall.
Small town newspapers would be very wise to take the loss up front knowing it is a loss leader but making money in the long run with advertisers and classifieds because one of the crazy small town murders that becomes a famous podcasts will get links from the Washington Post, NY Times, CNN, Fox News and every other media outlet in the United States. Instead, they are interested in making an extra $4 a month on a subscription from the same people that have read the newspaper for the last 40 years.
This is the reason online news outlets continue to thrive while small town newspapers go out of business or are forced to consolidate every single week. Open up the paywall, promote some of the crazy and unique stories on Facebook, Twitte, Snapchat and TikTok and watch your website get more traffic than your servers can handle.