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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Thank you, WatchDog Nation

Alas, the time has come to say farewell to many members of WatchDog Nation, those who will not be joining us in our transition to a "subscriber" site, effective Wednesday.

The move has generated passionate debate, as in the 131-comment discussion that followed my post on this topic last week.

The fact people care so deeply must mean Newsday.com has done a good job of becoming a part of your lives.

But drastic times call for drastic measures. The latest newspaper circulation figures are grim - although Newsday fared much better than most.

The figures are depressing, but they also ignore the elephant in the room: More people are reading our stuff than ever, yet we are deriving little business benefit out of them. It's ridiculous and unsustainable.

The question is how to justify it all in business terms. Direct revenue is one way, of course.

But the Cablevision / Newsday strategy, in which subscribers to Newsday and to Cablevision's Internet service will continue to get Newsday.com gratis, is more nuanced and interesting than that.

The most thorough, honest explanation I have read about the decision and its implications can be found toward the bottom of this post by Davidoff.

(There's an excellent comments section debate going on under Davidoff's post, too.)

Newsday's core mission since 1940 has been covering Long Island - and the teams Long Islanders follow - more thorougly than any other media entity, now more than ever.

If this helps us do that as a viable, healthy business into the future, I'm all for it.

The inevitable decline in my national visibility (and page views) mostly is an ego thing. More to the point, Long Island advertisers understandably have little interest in readers in Dubuque.

For those readers who won't be coming along for the ride - especially those outside Cablevision territory who in many ways are innocent bystanders in all this - thank you for your readership, input and support.

You will be missed.

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