Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain and owner of more than 250 regional newspapers announced “dismal” earnings for the past quarter and announced another round of layoffs. In response, people have been proposing a lot of solutions, from allowing journalists to unionize to firing or reducing executive pay. Every time I read a story about the uncertain future of journalism, the issue seems more and more complicated. But what if it isn’t?
Here’s the problem: too many intelligent people act as if quality journalism is free.
If you are a reader of this newsletter, you are a smart person. I know you are the sort of person who already understands the value and importance of real journalists. So here’s a question for you: how much journalism do you actually pay for? Are you a paying subscriber to the newspapers and magazines whose stories you share? Do you have a paid digital subscription to the news sites that you read most often? If not, the harsh truth is that you’re part of this problem and contributing to the demise of journalism. But I know you want to do better.
The solution is easy. Start paying for the journalism you consume. And no, your streaming platform subscriptions don’t count. That is entertainment, not news.