It’s a complaint I’ve seen and heard many times: “I can’t read this article because they want me to pay for it,” or some variation thereof.
I think it’s human nature to want as many things as we can get for free, but when I think about it, I don’t mind paying a few bucks a month for a newspaper subscription – and you shouldn’t neither.
Before I say anything else, I have to admit I’m a little biased on this one. I started working in the newspaper industry over 20 years ago, which probably tends to make me a pro-newspaper.
But I also have several good reasons to support print journalism, even if it costs a few dollars to read it. Here are a few.
1) It doesn’t cost that much to “pay for the news”. A digital subscription to this newspaper costs just $7.50 per month, which is cheaper than a meal at many fast food restaurants. For example, a Big Mac with fries and a drink costs $8.69 at McDonald’s. A meal in a sit-down restaurant costs even more. When I think about it, paying $7.50 once a month to read the DAR on your phone, tablet, or computer doesn’t sound so bad.
2) If you want to know what’s going on at home, read the newspaper. I know some might say, “Why pay to read the paper when I can watch the local news for free?” The answer to this question is pretty simple: your local TV station probably isn’t coming to town to cover your local city council or school board unless something really big is going on.
The DAR regularly covers the Poplar Bluff Town Council and also covers the three school boards in Butler County, as well as the Three Rivers College Board of Trustees.
Coverage of these governing bodies serves at least two purposes. First, it provides much-needed accountability to these organizations. And second, it keeps the public informed about what’s going on with the town of Poplar Bluff, local school districts, and the local college district.
It’s very important here in Butler County. Decisions made by these governing bodies often affect us more than what happens on Capitol Hill.
3) If you really want to know what’s going on with a problem, read a newspaper. So many times the evening news gives the “Reader’s Digest” version of a story, in part because there’s only so much that can fit into a 30-minute show.
I think newspapers tend to go deeper and provide readers with more information about the events and issues of the day. In the tumultuous times we live in, this is very important.
4) Chances are you’re already “paying for the news.” Unless you’re one of the few people who exclusively watch TV using an antenna and avoid cable, satellite, and/or over-the-air services, you’re already paying to watch the news. local or national evening news.
If you’re already paying for it, why not pay a few extra dollars a month to subscribe to your local newspaper and stay up to date with what’s going on where you live?
5) Last but not least, it costs money to do what we do. While print journalism is a calling for many of us, it’s also how we pay our bills, fill our gas tanks, and put food on our table.
“Covering the news of the day costs money,” said Joey Young, former president of the Kansas Press Association and publisher of several central Kansas newspapers. “It takes resources to employ a professional journalist, buy equipment, maintain a print newspaper and website, and basics like turning on the lights every day.”
So the next time you click on an article and it wants you to subscribe before you can read it, go for it. I think you will find it worth it.
Mike Buhler is an editor for the Daily American Republic. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.