Jeremy Mercer ❖ Online

Paying for Journalism

October 21, 2014

In my third year journalism classes at the Institut Européen de Journalisme, we discuss the economic crisis in journalism that has resulted from the migration of advertising from traditional news media to social media and search engines. We look at less savory solutions like custom content or native advertising and less stable solutions like crowd-funding or philanthropic journalism. However, the gorilla in the classroom is the basic fact that if my students hope to get good journalism jobs one day, people need to pay good money for journalism. So, in the spirits of transparency, I thought it would be important as a journalism instructor to declare what journalism I actually pay for. The list includes all journalism I have regularly paid for during the last 12 months, either through newsstand purchases, fund-drive contributions, or subscriptions. It is shorter than I like and is dominated by podcasts and magazines. It also doesn’t include book-length journalism, which is an entirely different beast in my opinion and which I tend to support generously.

1. The Atlantic (subscription)

2. Scientific American (subscription)

3. Mother Jones (subscription)

4. Reason (subscription)

5. Columbia Review of Journalism (subscription)

6. National Geographic Little Kids (subscription)

7. National Geographic Kids (subscription)

8. Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish (subscription)

9. This American Life (donation)

10. Serial (donation)

11. Freakonomics (donation)

12. RadioLab (donation)

13. Haute Provence Info (newsstand)

14. Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle* (donation)

I should add that I am in the market for a subscription to a weekly French newsmagazine, but it seems there is no neutral choice and it has to be a political decision: L’Obs for socialist left, Marignane for caviar left, Express for populist right, Le Point for business right. Also, over the past 10 years I have subscribed to the The Economist on three different occasions but always let the subscription lapse because I only read about 20% of each magazine, only to renew it again when I realized reading 20% of The Economist every week still makes you rather aware of world events and is worth the 100 or so euros it costs. Considering this cycle, I should be re-upping any day now.

* Does a crossword puzzle blog count as journalism? If movie reviews, restaurant reviews, CD reviews, and book reviews count as journalism, than I say yes.

Related Categories: New & Notable.

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photo : Stefan Bladh

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