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Good news is worth paying for

In last week’s Craig’s Weekly (my eNewsletter), I recommended a Wall Street Journal article on how to have hard conversations. Some of you wrote to me that you couldn’t access the article. My apologies. I figured that if someone didn’t have a subscription or ability to buy one, they would at least be able to register with the Wall Street Journal and get free access.

Although admittedly I had another thought too: this article is worth paying for.

We are quick to complain about poor quality or biased news, even fake news. Yet we are also quick to expect our news to be free, like on Facebook. But don’t you get what you pay for?

I currently have paid subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New York Times, and Yes!. I’m not trying to be a news snob here. And I get that I am very privileged to be able to buy these. What I am trying to do is model that I am prepared to pay for good, trustworthy news.

If a credible news source – The Wall Street Journal for example – wants me to sign up for a free trial just so I can read just one article, I think that’s fine. The Wall Street Journal has to support a huge infrastructure — staff, buildings, equipment — for quality news investigation and reporting. And they have a huge reputation to protect. That has value. To access that value I’m willing to let them try to convince me how good their paper is for a month, and I have to remember to cancel before they start charging me.

Sign-ups and payment schemes vary, but you get the idea. Inaccurate or intentionally misleading news is usually free. Trustworthy news has a cost.

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