Save a journalist

Little time is better spent than a Sunday morning curled up with great company, good coffee and a fat newspaper. Such is a period of renewal.

Journalism itself needs renewal. The economic model of newspapers is challenged by competitors and the World Wide Web. And, we all like our stuff on the Internet free. Charging for content has not proven widely successful, yet.

Time recently reported on How to Save Your Newspaper. The conflict, as Walter Isaacson, former managing editor of Time, reports, is that while the economic models are faltering the demand for news has never been greater. But, as the Pew Research Center reported, more people last year got their news free on line than paid in any form. Unfortunately, on line ad revenues aren’t footing the bill for the quality of journalism we expect from our newspapers and magazines.

Isaacson explores the potential of paid content through micro-transactions. If you’d pay 20-cents to text message trivia about what you’re doing right now, would you pay 10-cents to read great content, be it happenings around the globe or on the next block? Remember buying minutes of Internet time?

Would the cream rise? I would hope so whether the content being paid for is from a journalist whose work is edited and fact checked (right, it’s not perfect, argue this politely) or citizen journalists whose work isn’t vetted in any way.

In the meantime, rethink your financial commitment to an educated mind and curl up with a good paper or magazine. At a couple of bucks, today’s Chicago Tribune will provide a couple of hours of enlightenment, entertainment and, perhaps, disagreement.



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