December 2014


On my media choices: putting my money into quality journalism

I’ll admit it: I am a huge freeloader when it comes to news on the Internet: if it’s free, I’ll read it. If it’s not free… well, then it depends.

I’ve had a long-standing list of media that I would be happy to pay for: The Economist, The New York Times, and The Guardian.

And in reality, I pay for The Economist – it’s my serious news source – the one that I read from cover to cover every week, savoring nearly every page.

As for The New York Times – I get my digital access through a relative’s paper subscription. I guess that makes me a bit of a freeloader – but if I weren’t using my relative’s digital access, it wouldn’t be used at all.

With respect to the Guardian, I always noted that while I would be happy to pay for it, they had no mechanism to actually give them money. I actually made this comment to a friend last week – lamenting the fact that I couldn’t give them money, but internally smug since it was money I wasn’t shelling out for incredible journalism.

And then Guardian Membership (beta) popped onto my radar – and I actually had to eat my words – faced with a menu of being a friend, a partner, or a patron. Free, £135, or £540 per year.

It was clear to me that I have a moral responsibility to join, to pay, and to support a newspaper whose work is incredibly important. So I bellied up to the bar and have become a partner – giving The Guardian roughly what I pay The Economist for an annual subscription, and roughly what The New York Times costs digitally (if I weren’t using my relative’s subscription).

I will probably never use any of the benefits that come with being a Guardian Partner: 20% off live events are great, but the vast majority of live events are in the UK. While I might, I suppose, watch a live stream or show people my Guardian membership card, I suspect that the main benefit of being a Guarding Partner for me will be the warm fuzzy feeling I get every time I read an article and realize that I’m helping fund and support the journalists who are bringing it to me.

And that’s enough for me.

2 comments to On my media choices: putting my money into quality journalism

  • An often overlooked case is Wikipedia. Almost every netizen uses it. It will never paywall itself, and so we are seldom forced to ask ourself who pays for the infrastructure. I support Wikipedia.

    Another frequent site that appears in feeds and such is Brain Droppings. I find myself looking at a linked piece around once a week, and so it deserves my active support.

    • Good point about Wikipedia — I should add them to my list of charities. As for Brain Droppings — I’ve never actually heard of it!