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We’ve Got Company: Reading Paper Covers Township

SANATOGA PA – The competition to cover news from Lower Pottsgrove Township kicked up a notch Monday (July 7, 2014) as, for the first time since The Sanatoga Post was founded six years ago, a reporter from Berks County’s Reading (PA) Eagle newspaper arrived at the Buchert Road municipal building to write about a meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

Tuesday's headline in The Reading Eagle newspaper and, below it, the portal for payment to read it

Tuesday’s headline in The Reading Eagle newspaper and, below it, the portal for a subscription payment to read its story

Reporter Paige Cooperstein introduced herself to, and asked questions of, board President Bruce Foltz and Vice President Stephen Klotz regarding comments both made earlier during the night on police department staffing plans.

Her resulting story, titled “Lower Pottsgrove Township officials say as population rises, so should number of police,” appears in Tuesday’s (July 8) online edition of the newspaper. Unless you subscribe to the Reading paper, however, you might not be able to read it.

That’s because – unlike The Post, which provides free public access to its entire online contents – The Eagle permits free viewing of only a limited selection of articles. You must pay for and subscribe to the newspaper in some form, either in print or digitally, to read the majority of its stories.

Cooperstein’s Lower Pottsgrove piece was “locked behind a paywall,” as The Eagle’s practice is known in the news industry, as of Tuesday at 4 a.m.

The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper operates an online paywall too, although it does not block access to specific stories. Instead, it restricts readers only after they view a number of articles within a set time period. The Mercury did not have a representative at Lower Pottsgrove’s meeting Monday.

Assignment of Cooperstein as The Eagle’s “Metro Department” reporter specifically dedicated to the Pottstown area seems to indicate heightened interest by that newspaper’s management in local residents as a potential source of readership growth and future profit. It follows several years of increased video news reporting of greater Pottstown by Allentown-based television station WFMZ.

It also mirrors moves by The Eagle’s affiliated radio station, WEEU-AM, to attract western Montgomery County listeners after the 2009 closing of decades-old Pottstown radio station WPAZ-AM, as well as the closing of ‘PAZ successor WBZH-AM in 2013.

Cooperstein, according to The Eagle’s website, is a Berks County native who graduated from Syracuse University with a master’s degree in journalism. On Sunday (July 6), she wrote a feature article about improvements at the MOSAIC Community Gardens on Chestnut Street in the borough, and about volunteer clean-up of Edgewood Cemetery on High Street.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ July 7 meeting):

Image capture by The Post of a portion of The Reading Eagle online

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