The current political angst reminds us how important journalism is, and that it depends on patrons to sustain it. This recent NY Times article shows that now, more than ever, people will pay for journalism:
(The article notes that this flurry of support applies to both non-profits, and for-profit publishers like the Times.) [UPDATE 12/19/16: "By Attacking the Press, Donald Trump May Be Doing It a Favor" by Jim Rutenberg makes the point of a resurgence in patronship even more strongly]
But now that journalism has our attention, what is the best way to sustain it?
- Some patronship can come from rich benefactors -- but much of it must come from consumers.
- Advertising was rarely enough, and is no longer a very valuable revenue source at all.
- Donations are great, as far as they go -- but awkward and unreliable.
- Publishers need a reliable consumer revenue stream.
- FairPay relationship pricing can turn that into a science, and make it far more effective -- channeling willingness to pay, into real, ongoing support for serious, costly, investigation and analysis. It can work for both for profit publishers, and for non-profits. It offers a systematic process, one that is win-win for publishers and consumers -- one that is smoother, more systematic, and more effective than a fund drive process.
My post on this from last year, Patron-izing Journalism -- Beyond Paywalls, Meters, and Membership, is now all the more timely. It explains how FairPay goes beyond paywalls and membership models to make journalism sustainable. I hope you will read it.
...And on why media technology matters, and how to enhance that...
This new attention to supporting journalism also relates to a still broader interest of mine - developing electronic media to make us smarter, not dumber. The 2016 election has made it all too clear that growing concerns some of us had about the failing promise of our new media are now far more acute than we had imagined.
We suddenly see that our problem of echo chambers and filter bubbles has reached a crisis point. While the vision has been that new media could "augment human intelligence," it instead seems that our media are "de-augmenting" our intelligence. I have had an interest in this area since the 1970s, and have addressed some aspects of it, and a direction toward a remedy, in a post on my other blog that is now very timely: Filtering for Serendipity -- Extremism, "Filter Bubbles" and "Surprising Validators." Others such as Tim O'Reilly and Eli Pariser have taken renewed interest in this problem (and in my suggestions). (I plan to comment further on this soon in that other blog.) [UPDATE: 2016: Fake News, Echo Chambers, Filter Bubbles and the "De-Augmentation" of Our Intellect.]
Even better, read my highly praised new book: FairPay: Adaptively Win-Win Customer Relationships.