Monday, June 03, 2019

Someone must pay for journalism, and journalists need to explain that on social media, to reach readers they need

Dan Mackie
Journalists and their paymasters increasingly remind readers (and hopefully potential readers) that someone has to pay for journalism. It's good to see a contributor banging that drum, as retired journalist Dan Mackie does in an op-ed for the Valley News in West Lebanon, N.H., and White River Junction, Vt.

Mackie writes that he has noticed several "cranky non-subscribers" complaining that Valley News content isn't free online. But, though internet advertising can be lucrative, it's not "a brilliant business plan" for a newspaper to depend on that to pay the bills. "Subscriptions are the ticket," Mackie writes.

Propaganda, press releases, and fluff are readily available for free online, but quality journalism is worth paying for. "Reporting, consulting multiple sources and fact-checking stories test the brain and intestinal fortitude. Journalism might seem like a fun hobby, but it is difficult to get hobbyists to show up every day, or for night shifts," Mackie writes.

"It’s good to see contributors, not just editors and publishers, pointing out that someone has to pay for journalism, and increasingly, that is the audience, not advertisers," says Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, publisher of The Rural Blog. "But unless it’s shared on social media, and not behind a paywall, they’re preaching to the choir."

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