Pay for News

Time to support quality journalism

Early memories of reading newspaper

Remember the “thud” you hear when newspapers arrive at your home? As a kid, I used to rush to the door to grab the copy of Mathrubhumi before my dad to get hold of it. I’d then spend half hour reading it the way my grandfather does - start with the front-page, but then go from the last page in reverse order. (He was in Saudi for a few years!) Of course, it took me years to understand that reportage in Mathrubhumi was akin to writing colourful fiction. During the height of factionalism in CPI(M) between the then Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and the then State Secretary of the party (and current Chief Minister) Pinarayi Vijayan, headline writers at Mathrubhumi were at their creative best. Sample this - when the Home portfolio was not given to the Chief Minister, Mathrubhumi screamed “VS’s wings clipped”. I’m not disputing the fact that there was factionalism in the party; merely upset at the way it was reported. What’s your earliest memory of reading newspaper? Comment below!

Courageous journalism matters

We now live in era where trust in traditional news media is disappearing fast. A quick glance of the mentions of prominent journalists on Twitter shows us the chasm. Instead of checking whether the news that they report is accurate or not, they are attacked for their political beliefs and opinions. I truly believe that a journalist has to be anti-establishment to be of benefit to the country. Political parties, governments, industries are all eager and willing to cross lakshmanrekha of legal and constitutional propriety for their private benefit at the expense of public good. It takes time, effort and resources to do this work. Therefore it’s essential that we the consumers of news support the journalists.

How to pay for news?

If you consume a product, pay for it. Especially if you can afford it. Here’s how I support newspapers.

  1. Magzter Gold: For ₹2000 a year (special rate, usual rate ₹4000) you can get access to numerous newspapers and magazines. It’s Netflix for News. E-paper editions of The Hindu, The Indian Express, Hindustan Times, Business Standard etc. are available through this app, along with magazines like India Today, Frontline, Economic and Political Weekly etc. If you are a sporadic reader of a variety of newspapers and magazines, this is a cost-effective and affordable way to support journalism.
  2. Direct Subscription: If you want to subscribe to only those newspapers or services you want, go ahead and do it. This is especially beneficial because it gives maximum resources to the publication directly. Here are the links to subscription pages of a few newspapers and magazines (non-exhaustive).
    1. The Hindu
    2. The Indian Express
    3. Economic and Political Weekly
    4. Scroll
    5. The Wire
    6. Swarajya

I’ll only pay for news that fits my world view (?)

It’s in human nature to make mistakes and all the news organisations listed above have made their share of mistakes in their long existence. As readers, we also have to learn to see the news and editorial sections differently. Personally, I try to subscribe to publications with different ideological bents. A couple of years ago, I was a regular subscriber of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I am also a past subscriber of Swarajya, The Economist and Washington Post. Of course, how you choose to spend your money is entirely your decision. My request? Try to support two different publications - one that fits your world view and one that questions it.

Arun Sudarsan
Arun Sudarsan
Economist and Policy Researcher

Arun is an Economist, passionate about Open Data and its potential to increase state transparency and accountability. Loves teaching. Previously worked at NITI Aayog. To subscribe to this blog’s mailing list, please enter your details here. Check your spam folder if you are missing updates. Thanks for subscribing!

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