Over the last few years I’ve found myself not just subscribing to an assortment of news and other publications, but actually paying for the privilege.
In the spirit of full transparency for my own publications influenced by these choices, here’s a list of everything I’m actually paying cold hard cash for.
A quick note about format
Wherever I can I select the “digital only” option, and avoid having paper actually shipped to me. I’m an online kinda guy, and there’s no reason more trees should die for my interests.
That being said, there are two exceptions:
- No digital only option exists. (C’mon, publications, get with the program and join the 21st century.)
- I’m not the only one affected by the decision. My wife prefers paper.
I’m including the amounts, just for reference. Most are rounded to the nearest $5. Some are paid out of personal funds, others are paid by the company (Ask Leo!) when I can justify it.
Those things we might identify as “traditional” newspapers.
- The Seattle Times – our local paper, of course. $675/year. (We also contribute to the Seattle Times Investigative Journalism Fund.)
- The Bellingham Herald – “local” in the sense that we have roots in the Bellingham area. $160/year.
- The Financial Times – Came highly recommended, but my guess is that I’ll not renew. $612/year.
- GoComics – Honestly not sure where to put this, but yeah. The comics page. $15/year.
- The New York Times – $144/year.
- The Puget Sound Business Journal – another local offering. $120/year.
- The Wall Street Journal – $350/year
- The Washington Post – $99/year.
- The Woodinville Weekly – hyper-local. $30/year.
Magazines & Websites
This gets blurry, so I’ll combine these two categories.
- The Atlantic – $100/year
- Consumer Rerports – $40/year
- The Economist – $300/year
- Good Housekeeping – I may not pay as much attention to this as some. $35/year
- Medium – Quite the collection of writers. $60/year
- National Geographic –
- People – Guilty pleasure. $115/year
- Scientific American – $60/year
- TV Guide – Yes, it’s still a thing. – $50/year
- Every – A collective of newsletters, many super-interesting. – $170/year
- The Marginalian – Maria Popova – $60/year
- Platformer – Casey Newton on Substack – $100/year
- Steady – Dan Rather on Substack – $50/year
- Sweary History with James Fell – $54/year
- The Art of Noticing – Rob Walker on Substack – $50/year
- The Profile – Polina Pompliano on Substack – $50/year
Why spend money?
That’s a long list, and no, I don’t read all of it all the time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
So why do I subscribe to things I might not read regularly?
There are generally two reasons:
- I literally want to support or reward the publication. They’ve done something or reported on something I consider important, or they represent something I consider important and want to make sure that they can continue.
- I want to read the content, and even though it may be available free (not all are), I reach a threshold where I feel I should pay for what I’m consuming. I know I’m very privileged to be able to, and that enters into it as well.
The press needs our support now more than ever.
What I expect is this:
- Those on the left will see the list above as right-leaning.
- Those on the right will see the list above as left-leaning.
If that happens, I’m quite comfortable with it.
Naturally, the list will change over time. I’ve already identified subscriptions that ended up not really fitting with my needs, and I’m certain I’ll stumble across others I find worthy of my money.
I’ll try and keep this list updated.