Why I pay for news

With a paid subscription, I help source the news that I read and doing so allows me to be part of something greater

In the mid-2000s I worked a job in a corporate mailroom. Each morning, we’d received hundreds of print copies of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and issues of the local paper, The Poughkeepsie Journal. After sorting and delivering them to staff, we’d have extra copies.

After our morning mail delivery, we mailroom staffers had a few hours to spare before package deliveries began arriving. This free time was a benefit of the job and some staff would spend it reading books, but I always sat down to read the fresh print editions. By the time I flipped through the papers, I had a better understanding of the world, and ink-stained hands.

A decade and a half later, the newspaper industry has had to pivot to apps, websites, and social media, as sells of print editions have gone nearly flat. The internet has increased access to news, and much of it is now available to read for free.

As a result, many smaller newspaper publishers have gone under, failing to gain enough in advertising revenue or online subscriptions needed to survive. While some large publishers were able to pivot to online news subscriptions, many have struggled to gain a large enough financial footing to avoid layoffs and restructuring.

While many readers now get their news from alternative sources, such as Google or Facebook, these platforms are nearly always sourced from the same publishers that used to deliver print editions to our doors and markets.

I choose to go directly to these sources and to pay for the news I read.1 Doing so helps source the news that I read and allows me to be part of something greater than myself. Moreover, when I make a financial contribution to a cause I care about, I appreciate it more.

Reading news may no longer stain my hands with ink, but accessing it is just as important today as it was 15 years ago. I value it just as much now as I did then, and that means I’m not only willing to pay for it, I prefer to open my wallet for the greater good.


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1

If you’re wondering, I am a paid subscriber of both The New York Times and The Atlantic.