Sunday, September 22, 2013

Media consumption diet, revisited

Yesterday afternoon a nice young man knocked at our door asking me to purchase a subscription to the local newspaper. He didn't have a chance; I don't want more fish wrap around here. And, because so many are like me, the paper probably hasn't got much chance of survival.

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:
On average, 9.26% of impressions were found to be ad-blocked, with some sites reaching as high as 50%

Tech sites average at 17.79%, followed by news (15.58%) and culture (9.94%). Business, real estate and travel sites average lower

Ad-blocking is higher in the US and EU: top countries are Austria (22.50%), Hungary (21.52%) and Germany (19.44%). Average in the US is 8.72%

Blocking rate is found to be highest among Firefox users (17.81%), followed by Safari (11.30%) and Chrome (10.06%). Explorer averages at 3.86%

Linux users have a staggering 29.04% blocking rate, compared with 12.95% for Mac users, and 9.25% for Windows users.

Mobile blocking is gaining popularity: Android shows a 2.24% blocking rate, and iOS 1.33%
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.)


Rain Trueax said...

you put out a lot more than I do. A lot of papers let me have 5 reads a month and I take that. I wouldn't mind a package deal but lost faith in the NYTimes; so it's not on the list anyway. I agree though we have to figure out some way to pay for good journalism. The problem is deciding what is that and not propaganda...

Hattie said...

I subscribe to The Nation, The New Yorker, the Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books: all on a Kindle subscription. The TBR, NYRB and the LRB are on my Kindle Reader, just the articles, letters, etc. and few of the pictures and, from the New Yorker, the cartoons.
Except for the New Yorker, I can also download facsimiles of the magazines onto my Kindle Fire if I want to look at the ads, etc.
I download the Sunday Times, usually, and maybe one or two issues of NYT during the week.
All this is much, much cheaper than regular subscriptions but I don't get Internet access to the sites that are for subscribers only.
I gave up on Harpers. I was tired of it anyway.
I'm thinking of subsribing to The Guardian Weekly. It's a honey of a paper.

Brandon said...

We get the print version of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. (We use excess newsprint for lining our cat cages.)

Magazine subscriptions (opinion/current affairs): Chronicles, Reason, Harper's are the big three. Harper's has had some great pieces lately, including one on Silicon Valley, in its January issue.

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