Free press isn't free

You say you want really good journalism? You say you want reporting that is objective, even-handed, and well-done? You say you believe that the press is part of protecting us from government and corporate overreach? You say that investigative reporting is key to uncovering secrets that harm us in some way? You say you want a strong, free press? Well, then …

If you want a free press, pay for it.

You say you want a strong, free press? Well, then ... If you want a free press, pay for it.Click To Tweet

Good reporting takes time, and time means money. Investigative reporting takes even more time – and that means even more money. Stories with depth and detail, analysis that goes beneath the surface, interviews that bring the facts to life: all of these take even MORE time, and that means even MORE money.

And here’s the raw truth: There is no way for any journalism outlet to pay for all of this through advertising alone.

With the arrival of the internet, there are too many outlets chasing the same advertising money. Advertising revenues are down across the board. The circulars that used to help pay for your local newspaper are now ads on Google.

This leaves publishers with a fundamental choice: Do we do journalism and hope enough people will pay for it? Or, do we do clickbait stories in order to drive up traffic and increase the hundredths of a cent we get for each popup ad?

I value local reporting. I value investigative reporting. And I value good journalism. So, I pay for it. I have paid subscriptions to multiple outlets: two local newspapers (including the print version of one), another local news outlet that is only online, the Washington Post, and two investigative reporting outlets.

Is that a lot? Probably. I’m in journalism myself, so I consider it part of my investment in the profession.

But I’m also a citizen, and I know that a truly free press (as in, free to follow the story and report it, no matter where it leads) is critically important to a democracy.

So …

  • if you want a strong democracy;
  • if you want wrong-doing to be dug out and reported;
  • if you want sources you can trust;
  • and if you want all of this to be safe from corporate interference;

then make the commitment to pay for it.

Want a free press? Pay for it. It’s that simple.

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I didn’t write this to get you to become a Patron of our site; I wrote it because I believe it, strongly. But obviously, if you want to support our work by subscribing to updates and becoming a patron, that would be cool. Our Patrons and our Sponsors make this site possible.

Bruce Maples
Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. He has been President, Vice-President, and Treasurer of the Metro Democratic Club, and has served on the Democratic Party Executive Committee in Louisville. He began blogging in 2004, and currently operates two personal blogs (BruceMaples.com and brucewriter.com). He founded Forward Kentucky in the wake of the state elections in 2015, and expanded it in the summer of 2016. He has lived in Louisville since 1992 with his wife and two sons.