Saturday, March 24, 2018

Paying to read

There is little I pay for to consume on the internet. Because of the internet, I donate AU$10 per month to the Happy Cat Club in the US and I do so because it is a project by the tireless cat carer and fixer, and blogger mate, Strayer.

I pay $US2 per month to Old Reader where I see all you blog posts, pron from selected links, news stories that I am following and much more. It was once free, but for US$2 per month, it is very good value.

Aside from my previous $100 donation to The Guardian newspaper online in Australia, there is only one substantial thing of real money I pay for and that is my subscription to The Age. It costs around $25 per month. I can read the paper on my desktop, tablet and phone. It would cost nearly $100 per month if I bought the hard copy paper each day, and for the $25 per month, I also have access to the Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times, WA Today, The Canberra Times and of no interest to me, The Australian Financial Review.

I can read so much on the net without paying and at times I get annoyed with The Age and think I might drop my subscription. Every so often The Age sends me an email with a promotion of something, usually something for rich people, something about arts,  or movers and shakers in society, none of which is of interest to me.

But then this email arrived from an Age respected journalist. Ok, it is not personal, but it is makes the point that my world and society would be very degraded without The Age, and the larger Fairfax Press. I am happy to support good journalism with my subscription to The Age, for now.

Hi Andrew,For over 35 years as a political reporter, I’ve analysed budgets, interviewed prime ministers and predicted the GFC. I’ve exposed secret negotiations between Australia and Indonesia, been called ‘Rudd’s mate’ and labelled ‘a partisan propagandist for the West against the Rest.'
The greatest compliment we can receive is a condemnation from those who fear free speech.

I’m not here to win popularity contests. You don’t reveal the truth in Australian or international politics by playing it safe and not offending people. And to do that, you need a platform and subscribers like you, who believe in telling it the way it is.
Your support since 2015 is the reason I, and my fellow journalists, can stay on the front line where stories break, reputations are made and nations are shaped.
Thanks to you, we can do our job without fear or favour.
Yours,
Peter Hartcher

Peter Hartcher
Political & International Editor

12 comments:

  1. What a lovely email. And sadly he is right. Our journalists (decried though they often are) do an important job. And my world would be diminished without them.

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    1. EC, while it was not personal as I suspect it went to all subscribers, it was really nice and felt personal. The more cynical me thinks it was a 'gee up the troops' kind of email.

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  2. His bit (highlighted in red) about free speech is not to be forgotten. I have a similar saying pinned to a notice board where I can't ignore it.

    I'm a little surprised that you pay money for so much. Of course we pay for internet connection, but after that everything is FREE. I read a daily on-line paper, all Email and social medias are free, and even the wonderful Skype or Facetime are free. I can even read certain Aussie blogs for free. That, for me, is the great appeal!

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    1. Cro, a man after my own heart, as is Hartcher.

      Look, for years I never paid and managed to read The Age online, but eventually I felt I should pay. Nor is $2 per month for a first class rss feed facility much either. I can use the free one with some restrictions, but I believe in the company. Some of the UK papers have stupid surveys they want you to complete before reading, but yes, there is always the 'skip' button. As I said, that is all I pay for. I don't Skype and rarely Facetime, but they are free.

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  3. The Guardian is my favourite paper! For cultural issues and all the arts, try Hyperallergic. For Israel and the Middle East, I get The Tablet.

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    1. Hels, both are very interesting to check, but I just don't have the time. Extra interesting that you read a Catholic publication for news from the Middle East.

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  4. I bought The Age once because a lot of people I knew read it and they all said it was worth reading. They were wrong. For me anyway.

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    1. River, The Age was once a pompous and stuffy newspaper. It has changed. The online Guardian Australia is a great newspaper, but I also like to hear about the local 'car crash' stories, along with the local 'murder, rape and pillage'.

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  5. I'll stick with my "Courier Mail" and "Sunday Mail". I can read "The Brisbane Times", online, no cost...along with others...so I'm happy with what I use.

    I sometimes biy "The Australian", but the "Courier" is my preference. The "Courier Mail" is published at Bowen Hills in Brisbane, and has been for many a long year. I'm a loyal reader. :)

    Have a good week, Andrew...better than your Saturday, yesterday, by what you've inferred! :)

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    1. Thanks Lee. It will be better today with a family birthday celebration for three people.

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  6. Andrew, I'm so grateful to you for your monthly donation to Happy Cat Club. I was going to send you a card this Christmas about it, what it means to me, to have support clear from Australia but I cannot find your address from when you sent the camera. I've been struggling with computer failures of late and only now just saw your post. Every two months the money you send buys a huge bag of cat food, enough to feed five cats for two months. That's a huge help. You are one of two monthly donors, so I treasure you. It still is amazing to me, that someone so far away, whom I've never met in person is such a large part of my life.

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    1. Thanks Strayer. I can't fix the world, but I can support a hard working person who tries.

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