Tag Archives: rachel maddow

What is “free” news?

Recently, the Washington Post published a Rachel Maddow column that caught the attention of all of my co-workers, and I’m sure other journalists out there who are continuing to fight the good fight.

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Every day I see people upset about online paywalls and subscription costs citing that news should be free.

Why? Why should you get to read my hard work, my days labor for free while I make just above minimum wage? Why are you OK with paying for cable but not your local newspaper? Why is it OK to pay a toll, give tax on food or spend money on phone apps that make you look fatter than you actually are?

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It’s exhausting to be in this position today. I want my two degrees I worked hard for to pay back, when in reality McDonald’s workers make just $3 less than me. I won’t continue to complain, but please take a minute to read this excerpt:

Most of the time, national news happens out loud: at news conferences, on the floor of Congress, in splashy indictments or court rulings. But sometimes, the most important news starts somewhere more interesting, and it has to be dug up. Our democracy depends on local journalism, whether it’s a beat reporter slogging through yet another underattended local commission meeting, or a state political reporter with enough of an ear to the ground to know where the governor might be when he isn’t where he says he is, or a traffic columnist who’s nobody’s fool.

It’s annoying to pay for information — I know. But if you don’t subscribe to your local paper or pony up to get behind its online paywall, who’s going to pay reporters to cover the news where you live? A free press isn’t that kind of “free.” An accountable democracy doesn’t work without real information, gathered from the ground up, about people in power, everywhere. Be inspired by the beleaguered but unintimidated reporters of Chris Christie’s New Jersey: Whatever your partisan affiliation, or lack thereof, subscribe to your local paper today. It’s an act of civic virtue.

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