In the early months of 2007, I came to Joe Spear, the managing editor of The Free Press, and said: I want to start a baseball blog. If you want it on our website, great; if you don't, that's OK too, but I want to do this somewhere, somehow. He immediately said he wanted it on The Free Press site.
Our then-webmaster fairly quickly set up a crude blog platform within our site. It allowed no comments and required me to write out the html commands to create hyperlinks. It was clumsy and inconvenient and not all that accessible. And I used that for a bit more than two years. Perhaps that setup would have been improved with time, but the webmaster left our employ, and there was no successor.
By 2009 a few other staffers were blogging. They weren't using the in-house platform that had been set up for me; they were using Blogger, with links from the Free Press homepage to the blogs. I was, let us say, "encouraged" to shift to Blogger also. I was wary of the change, largely because I was not impressed by the tone of comments on Free Press stories, but in May I made the jump. (And the comment problem has not been an issue here; thank you.)
The new platform was easy and versatile. It also isn't really part of The Free Press website. Today, in the middle of the offseason, I'm drawing (according to Google Stats) about 8,800 visits a month; very few are coming through my employer's site, which means The Free Press isn't gaining much from all my blog activity.
All this is relevant because sometime this month The Free Press will install a paywall. (Here's the publisher's explanation.) Let me say here that I have absolutely no quarrel with this decision; I favor it, and have for some time. The give-it-away model isn't working financially for newspapers in general and The Free Press in particular, and isn't going to.
As matters stand, of course, this would have little effect on this blog. Most of you don't come here through The Free Press site. You come from other blogs, through bookmarks, through search engines ... and as long as the Outsider is on Blogger, those alternative routes are going to be there.
But that may not last much longer. Two thousand-plus visitors a week, many/most of whom are otherwise not Free Press customers, has an obvious attraction. Given that Jim Santori specifically mentions the blogs as something to be affected by the paywall, I assume this blog is likely to move once more.
I'll let you know when I know.