From paywalls to price hikes, how long will it take for the public to realize that news doesn’t come cheap?
The Seattle area has recently been hit by a few wake-up calls: the Seattle Times website now requires subscriptions for full access, and the price per issue of community newspaper Real Change has doubled.
These two changes don’t call for a change in habits, but rather a change in perspective. The rise of Internet news has had a democratizing effect on the press, but in the midst of such universal access it’s easy to forget that there are people behind the words–people who write, edit, print and distribute the information that we have come to take for granted.
Real Change has never raised its prices before, but the cost of everything around it has gone up. An increase was inevitable if vendors could hope to make any considerable profit from paper sales.
Many choose to buy Real Change as an act of charity, and don’t even read the paper after they buy it. To these readers, who are less likely to buy the $2 paper than its faithful fans, I present this challenge: try buying a copy of Real Change not as an act of goodwill but rather in pursuit of quality news. Real Change has won eight awards in the past year alone, and addresses topics frequently ignored by the mainstream media such as social justice and minority issues.
Real Change is worth one’s patronage because it’s a worthy cause, sure—but more than that, it is simply a quality publication, and that’s something we should get used to paying for.