The reason for the delay

Normally, we don’t respond to letters to the editor, reasoning that people have the right to express their opinion without us always having the last word.

But a letter the other day complaining that The Maui News doesn’t update its website early enough in the morning left us shaking our head. First of all, the letter writer compared us with two sites – The New York Times and The Honolulu Star-Advertiser – that charge to read their content. The Maui News website is free.

And, yes, we confess – our paying customers get to read the news before those getting it for free on our website. If you subscribe to the paper, you are going to see the large majority of our stories before those paying nothing on the Web.

The reason for that rule is simple: Our news staff insists on being paid.

The exception to that rule is that we do post breaking news immediately on our website.

Other newspapers and magazines have begun charging for the content on their websites and, to be honest, we are going to adopt that model for our site soon. But, even then, subscribers to the print edition of the paper will have free access to the website.

We have a sizable news staff and the only way we can afford it is to charge for the products (stories) that they produce.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.