Moving forward, I will pay for the news I value.
Like many, I often find ways to log in from another device when I’m notified that my “ten free articles for the month have already been viewed.” Even worse, I’ll often google the headline of the article to get around the paywall entirely. And occasionally I’ve “borrowed” a friend’s logins for a premium service. Everyone does it, don’t they? No longer, for me at least. In this new era of misinformation, an era where we need our journalists and our media to be the Fourth Estate they were intended to be, I will pay for the privilege of fine reporting and journalistic integrity. We all should.
In my opinion, there are two sides to that bargain. I am paying so that news organizations will have more resources to deploy toward solid, hard-hitting journalism. If and when I feel they are letting their readers (me) down, rolling over on issues they should be digging into, I will now have a right to complain and I will do so loudly.
When I’m freeriding, or sometimes even “stealing” my news — what gives me the right to complain about its accuracy or integrity?
These days, it doesn’t feel right to be shouting at CNN reporters on my computer screen — streaming a clip while I’m not paying for a cable subscription at home. It feels dishonest to find a way to get that eleventh NYT article for free despite having reached my free quota for the month.
Likewise, other outlets like The Guardian, while not (yet) enforcing paywalls, are asking readers to donate if they like the content they are getting. I will, because I do.
I’ve now composed a list of all the news outlets I value, and have either subscribed, donated, or found a way to sponsor.
PS — to my journalist friends out there, I’m sorry, but at least I’m coming clean now? Better late than never, right?