But, somehow, the journalism we do want on the web, has to get paid for. Journalists who help us understand the world, writers who introduce us to new delights and interests, need to survive too. but how?
I contribute to the problem by using an ad blocker in my browser; I don't want newspapers and mostly I don't want stuff, so I remain hard to entice to buy. I'm not alone in this. Don't know how accurate this is, but a crowd-sourced answer site called Quora reports:
There it is: I use Firefox on a Mac in the US, so I'm not uncommon. (BTW, Quora wanted me to give my email address to read that; I understand the social model there, but I get enough spam, so I declined.)
So what am I willing to pay for? Reliable internet access, obviously. Even in motels, though more and more I resent those that charge and those venues are selecting themselves out in the future, if I have a choice.
I also pay for the New York Times. Because I consider their $15/every four weeks pretty hefty, no other all-purpose newspaper site is going to have a chance with me. Sorry LA Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal.
Just last week, I decided I wanted to pay for Foreign Policy ($36/year). I'm addicted to several of their blogs (Walt; Ricks) and appreciate that they cover the empire, friends and enemies, from multiple points of view.
Years ago I paid some, not too large, sum to Daily Kos to avoid the advertising there. I don't spend much time on the site, but like to drop in and sign in to take the pulse of the internet-centered sector of activism.
I was willing to toss a small sum to Andrew Sullivan when he went indie. Any site that imaginative deserves encouragement, especially because I don't always agree with him. What Sullivan calls "subscribe" I think of in the same category as a number of other sites that I'll donate to, just to keep the posts coming, most notably Digby. I also donate to Grist to keep the environmental horror stories coming.
On the other hand, there are some sites I've let go because they started locking themselves down or erecting rigorous paywall limits. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists locks too many articles. I'd like to read them, but not to pay for this.
Though I check in on Talking Points Memo every day, I have not joined their TPM Prime paid community. I want to read Joshua Marshall's reflections about events, not chew the fat with other semi-informed commenters.
Though its writers are often right up my alley, I haven't subscribed to the Nation. This is a hangover from the days of print. We subscribed for years, then realized we'd stopped reading it. I have a feeling I'd have the same experience with the web version, even though at any time they have something posted by someone I respect. It's odd. By the way, the only print magazine we still subscribe to is the New Yorker. Their blogs are great too.
Meanwhile I appreciate the hundreds of free blogs and news sources I wander through, especially in some of my niche interests like religion, aging, and football. I try to wander widely. I am continually amazed and grateful for the creativity so many of us are sharing on the wild web!
What do you read and what are you willing to pay for?
(A previous post on this perennial topic.)