Paying for Quality


Simone Spilka,
Features Editor

Photo courtesy WikiMedia Commons

I’m a journalist; living and breathing the news is what I do and love. I indulge in good food and cute shoes thanks to the paychecks I get from writing these weekly articles. While I consider the task enjoyable, I spend time and energy thinking about my angle or argument and feel compensation is appropriate for my efforts.

As a college student who writes for pure pleasure, I don’t necessarily foresee a career with a newspaper publication. Contrastingly, I fear the future of journalism as we know it on a day-to-day basis. With the expansion of new media platforms, how consumers’ access daily news is rapidly changing. Internet users can be updated with minute-to-minute coverage at the click of a button ranging from technology to politics, thus the value of a print paper is on the decline and looking toward potential extinction. I know this is not a profound statement by any means, but it has substantial effects on those who truly care about the happenings in their local community and the world.

While readers bask in the expansiveness of the Internet to provide information about any topic, people neglect that the skill of writing is a profession that takes dedication and persistence. Although writers work for passion, they also write for a career. Newspapers are still a business with a need to pay their employees to provide quality content. Value in the written word added with the purchase of a premium subscription is depth and credibility. When information becomes a commodity, analysis of an article becomes more valuable.

A few months previous, I noticed a discomforting message on my New York Times homepage every time I clicked on a headline that caught my eye: “19 free articles left to read this month…18 free articles left…17 free articles left…” meaning my news consumption would be limited to a mere twenty articles a month. I cringed at the thought of skimming titles and photographs and could barely stand having to pick and choose what I thought would be worth using one of my valuable 20 articles.

That’s when I realized the importance of supporting an industry of professionals that I admire for their undeniable talent. Journalists struggle to survive because people argue against paying for news that is accessible within seconds of a Google search. But society as a whole needs to realize that the 10 percent of people who pay for online content won’t provide an adequate amount of profit in place of advertisements forever. Newspapers run a critical business and without them daily life would not function as it does. When it comes down to it, all people, from professionals to students to politicians, would be in a frenzy without credible news. While now all individuals have the ability to write, blog, and voice their opinion, users pay for subscriptions to receive quality reporting.

Opening my email to a confirmation of my New York Times online subscription was one of my prouder purchases.

“To: Simone Spilka. From: Simone Spilka. Enjoy your subscription!”

The joys of self-giving. I pay for good food and I pay for cute shoes, so why not pay a pretty penny for my greatest, unmaterialistic passion that will make me a more educated and intellectual individual?