Long ago, I said that we would attempt to operate in a transparent manner. This is an attempt to be true to that goal. I feel that the operating method of online news and media outlets is fundamentally flawed and would like your help to be part of a solution.
Why are news sites so flawed? Advertising.
Advertising is harming the the reporting of news because it can nudge media outlets to sway their articles in a particular direction. How? Through fluff-pieces that seem like legitimate editorial reviews, or through pressure by any given advertiser to say something in their favor or to not say something that might show them in anything but a shining light.
When I was a child, I saw the news as a source for truth. Now, I see it as a source for trash.
When advertising is the model to which a company (such as a news website) has to make money, the bottom line can be page-views and user clicks, instead of quality journalism. In fact, sensational journalism has taken over. We have major news outlets illegally tapping telephones, bribing officials and hurting people through their biased stories.
Quality journalism – when was the last time you were confronted with it? It’s a hard thing to come by these days. Why? Because journalists are not getting paid. Big websites are not properly paying their writers. Often, they do not get paid at all. Seriously – this is pervasive in the news industry. We are paying writers next to nothing. We ourselves have had troubles getting our writers paid at times.
Writers have entered into a state of literary servitude with media publishers and it simply needs to stop.
Imagine what it takes to feed your family from a financial perspective. Should a writer or editor be less inclined to have the same goal of taking care of his or her family? This is what is happening.
Let’s say we have five editors and ten staff writers. What should they make? Let’s be honest with ourselves here – $25,000 a year? $36,000? $50,000 or more? What do you want to make in your job without being too greedy? Let’s assign the five editors a rate of $50,000 a year and the ten staff writers $36,000 a year. 5 x $50,000 = ($250,000) + 10 x $36,000 = ($360,000). That is $610,000 just in salaries. As the owner of a website to which I work 10 – 15 hours a day, I believe that I need a salary. In addition, the cost to run a large website is quite high. There are designers to pay, marketing campaigns to fund and programming that needs to happen. I guesstimate this to be another $270,000. That makes $880,000 a year to properly operate a business, pay taxes and have a happy staff that can feed their families. Legal expenses are not included in this, but can easily be $100,000+ a year.
How do we come up with $880,000 per year to avoid corporate pressure, stop schlock journalism because we “need the clicks” and to provide the truthful news reporting that you deserve?
I’ve thought about this for a long time and feel that the only solution is a subscription model. But, how? We need $73,333 per month to merely survive and approximately $100,000 to actually grow. What do we charge? $5 per person per month? That makes 14,500+ subscribers needed. Do we charge $10? Then we need half of that? Do we charge $2? You get the picture. What are you willing to give to help us provide quality journalism. The answer may simply be “nothing” and to that we will likely stop publishing the Natural Food List.
I feel that too many people are getting “screwed” – from the writers, editors and owners through the people that want to read and see quality reporting. I believe that we, honest and average people, need to understand that we are getting slighted in a big way. I am a consumer as well and I for one am sick and tired of corporate or political pressure invading truth.
We are force-fed meaningless drivel under the thin guise of news and I believe we can do better. We all want things for free. Who doesn’t? But what we are getting for nothing is collectively making us gullible to slick promotions and invading our right to educate ourselves impartially.
Will you pledge to be different? If so, weigh-in right here. I urge you to give your constructive feedback.