Regular readers of The Local might notice some differences on the site today. First, you'll see that we're publishing a new kind of article – premium articles – in which we take a deeper look at some of the issues facing Germany and foreigners living here.
We're kicking off with a guide to taking sick leave in Germany and an in-depth look at how Germany's international community is made up.
Second, you'll see that to read these articles you need to be a paying Member of The Local. While other articles will remain free for most users, if you read The Local a lot we'll also be asking you to join us.
Why, after 10 years of being completely free, are we doing this?
First, because we want to be able to provide you with greater insight into what's going on in Germany. Stories we have covered in recent weeks include this investigation into how German customs officers use racial profiling, this piece on the isolation felt by many newcomers to Germany, and this article about what it was like to live in West Berlin in the 1980s. Doing this costs money.
Second, we are working in an environment in which big global companies like Facebook and Google have snapped up a huge proportion of global advertising. We still have some brilliant advertisers, and will continue to value those relationships, but like most other media we also need other forms of income.
But becoming a Member of The Local means more than just getting more to read. This is also about building a new, collaborative relationship between us and our readers.
It puts the power at The Local where we want it to be: with international residents of Germany. We'll be feeding back our Members' input into our editorial decisions, to help you determine how we can serve you best. And we'll be redoubling our efforts to speak up for the international residents of Germany.
It also means that we'll invite you to events, initially in Berlin, but later in other places too, where there's demand. Access to all other editions of The Local is included in the price. And we'll be offering you exclusive discounts from specially selected partners.
Becoming a member costs just €1 for the first month. We hope you'll join us.