I'm curious.

How much money do you pay for real hard news per month (not social media, not cable news, no trade publications).

Do let me know in replies what you subscribe to.

Poll is USD but if your currency is different, please reply with your response.

Some replies in this poll are pretty disheartening. It's clear that everyone reads the news regularly, and deep down understands that it's valuable, but then find reasons to not pay for it.

Tracking? Ads? Yeah I have them too. Use adblocker and rss (you probably already do).

Bias? Subscribe to multiple sources.

Support your news people. Or there won't be any left.

Social media is not news. It's commentary.

@karan Follow-up question: do you believe you should need to pay for the news?


In my fantasy world, you needn't pay for anything.

In the real world though, you need to pay for movies, or music, or furniture, or food. So my question is why wouldn't you pay for news.

@karan It's an interesting point. Thing is all of your examples except for food are entertainment. Then again most "news" is nothing but entertainment since it is a biased and opinionated version of current events. Maybe that should be a clue about what is really going on.


Some movies you (legally) watch will be horrible. You still pay for them.

Why can't the same be true for news? It's a business after all, and I know no one who doesn't consume their product.

I agree that a lot of news is garbage, but local, independent news is pretty solid.

@karan That doesn't address what I said at all, so ok then.


I'm not sure what you meant by "clue" and "what is really going on".

What is really going on?

@karan @WhoNeedszZz sometimes I watch a movie or a show and it'll be terrible, that's true. On Netflix that's amortized with all the good stuff I watch. I didn't pay $10 for a bad show, I paid $10 for -all- the shows I watch. I also get to pick what I want to see.

With news there's no balancing "good news" factor, and I have no say in what they show me. I pay $10 for the news and I can wind up with a month's worth of absolutely shit news (both quality of reporting and subject matter).


@karan @WhoNeedszZz Netflix is also entirely ad free and runs perfectly on all three platforms I consume it on (smart TV, Android, Linux desktop).

Print and digital magazines are chock full of ads and their websites are bloated behemoths of JS fuckery. News radio around here is relegated to headline blurbs twice an hour between ads and shitty music. On TV you don't endure ads during the newscast but it's not high quality reporting at all, looping what amounts to stock footage while (cont.) 2/n

@karan @WhoNeedszZz ... spouting uninformed opinions about whatever is going on instead of delivering actual information to the public.

I absolutely agree that we need quality journalism as a balance to government and corporations to keep them in line, and I'd probably pay for it if the option existed.

It doesn't exist today though. Good journalists are extremely rare and the delivery of the news is a shit show as I mentioned before.

Steam, Spotify, and Netflix are killing it right now. 3/n

@karan @WhoNeedszZz And they got big by building the platform first and offering the customers something that was better than the alternatives. They didn't require users to pay up front against promises of content down the line, they put the content up first and said "this costs $10 a month for an ad-free quality experience". (Slightly different in the case of Steam, but you know what I mean).

tl;dr: don't expect people to pay unless you're selling something worthwhile.

@kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz humor me - do you read any news? What sources do you trust for your news?

Whatever those sources are, would you pay them?

@karan @WhoNeedszZz I read the news every day, and I don't trust any of them individually. I read several sources to see what facts are shared across all sources, and only trust those facts to be reasonably accurate. Especially if two politically opposed sources agree on something; those things are most likely to be true.

I wouldn't pay any of the sources I commonly read as it stands now, because of the terrible UX of their web pages and the lack of quality reporting.

@kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz your opinion isn't uncommon. Mine is that you are consuming a product every day but not paying for it.

If you really don't trust sources or the ux, what's stopping you from not reading that news?

@karan @WhoNeedszZz I consider news and information to be vital to both me as an individual and society as a whole. An uniformed public is an easily duped public.

That's why I don't stop reading the news (my primary source of news consumption is reading it; it's on demand and more informationally dense than TV or radio).

I'm not opposed to paying for it, but I will not pay for it in the form its offered today.

@kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz I hear your reasons. I hate ads and tracking when I pay too.

I do also understand that ad-free would mean subscriptions costing $50 or above. is interesting in that regard.

Last question - what do you imagine totally unbiased and fair news (your definition) looks like?

@karan @WhoNeedszZz eh, I don't know that ad free has to cost that much. Netflix has *way* higher costs than any newspaper yet it costs only $10. The difference is everyone has to pay for Netflix, they aren't subsidising free users.

The news will never be totally unbiased, but they could achieve fairness by being upfront about their biases and following journalistic principles, rigour, and editorial control. We also need to educate the public better with critical thinking skills.

@kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz

So if you're saying that news will never be unbiased, I take that to mean that you should pay for the multiple sources you read to get the balance you seek. Why wouldn't you do that?

@karan @WhoNeedszZz are you even reading my toots?

I've explained several times why I'm opposed to paying for the current format of news. I will not pay for an ad infested, tracker filled, bloated web full of poor quality reporting.

Fix those things and I'm willing to pay. I won't pay you up front and hope for change down the line.

And yes, if you want news with the biases neutralised you need a minimum of three different sources.

@kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz I've read yours and your reasons seem to be post-facto excuses.

@karan @kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz the BBC costs nothing like this and you get news, radio and quality TV programming too.

@wizzwizz4 @simon @kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz is that a tax or can you opt out of it?

Either way, I like it.

@karan @simon @kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz It's effectively a tax on everybody with a television, or who uses BBC stuff. It funds some transmission towers and the BBC.

@wizzwizz4 @simon @kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz I'm assuming that there's a significant overlap in people who voted leave and who are trying to abolish BBC?

@karan @simon @kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz I couldn't tell you. I was on "reading the news" strike when the BBC covered the information I'd need to predict that.

@karan @wizzwizz4 @kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz in addition to a decent news service(especially in comparison to US news, although it falls over itself trying too hard to appear balanced), there's no adverts on the website or TV channels/radio. On the downside some of their staff are way overpaid and need a wage cap. They also produced the world's best wildlife documentaries. If all other news services were paywalled I probably wouldn't pay for any, but might read a Newsweek/economist type publication

@simon @karan @kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz

> although it falls over itself trying too hard to appear balanced

Ah, yes. I remember the most recent election's coverage – interviewers played along with the rhetoric because to call it out would be to appear partial (Mr. Johnson did so far more than any other candidate), so while each individual interview looked okay, on the whole the more honest candidates got more of their flaws exposed.

Esse quam videri, BBC.


@simon @karan @kungtotte @WhoNeedszZz Though, even so, they were still threatened with the pulling of their funding.

If you're being accused of A bias by the Bs, and B bias by the As, you're probably doing something right – hence the running joke amongst BBC-employed comedians.

The fifth :duckduckgo: result for "bbc right-wing bias" is "Why is the BBC so left wing? - Quora".

The BBC's only ever (slightly) biased when the charter's up for renewal.


@simon @karan @WhoNeedszZz the BBC webpage is better than most, that's true, it's still bloated with JS and crap. Looking at the source of the mobile page, the first actual page content shows up 700 lines down. That's a whole lot of unnecessary stuff before you're at the actual content.

As a frame of reference, my personal web page has 18 lines preceding the content, half of which are the navigation links.

@kungtotte @simon @WhoNeedszZz

It'd be shame if we lost journalism because they had too much js.

Block those ads if you do decide to pay for a subscription somewhere else (or donate).

@karan @simon @WhoNeedszZz maybe we don't owe it to any given industry to tacitly agree to whatever shitty business practices and content delivery methods they opt to use?

Remember when *X* technology was going to kill the record industry and it never happened, yet we kept hearing about lots of different ways we "had" to kowtow to them to keep these corporations from falling over?

Yeah... I don't think we should pay newspapers $50/mo to "save journalism" either.


> Bloated behemoths of JS fuckery

This actually made my laugh out loud. Nice job! 🤣🤣

@karan @WhoNeedszZz

@karan I am thinking of journalism as a public good, and susceptible to the tragedy of the commons

@karan $2 a month sounds good.. pay $24 upfront to cover that 30c + % cost from stripe or whatever

@karan Well. I voted for $0 and was about to say I don't pay for any news but then I thought about it and decided to subscribe to LWN at the $7/mo tier. Other than that, it's all RSS feeds from various sources such as Lobsters, Slashdot, and blogs.


Solid. I do think it's worth it to support the content we consume even if it's not perfect all the time.

@karan 'I can't afford' and 'don't want to pay' should not be in same option

@EdwardTorvalds I know I sent the toot while I was still editing it ☹️

@karan Not paying for news because I don't news.

Not that I don't have the money, but I don't have the time or the stomach for day-to-day affairs like "$POLITICIAN1 said $WORDS to $POLITICIAN2, here's what $EXPERT has to say about that."

I also don't give a shit about celebrities, aka people whose everyday lives and opinions are reported because their everyday lives and opinions are reported because reasons.


@karan It seems wasteful to buy a daily newspaper subscription just to skim over the headlines only when I have time, and *maybe* read one in-depth article per week, but probably closer to one per month. Then there's the thing where I don't really trust a single source of news.

If something is truly important, it will find its way to me. Maybe a week or two later, but that's the price of peace of mind.


@Coffee good.

This is the tragedy of the commons. You're not alone in thinking that. Say if 90% of local newsrooms die because they didn't generate revenue. How do you expect even the more important stuff to get to you when no one's producing it?

I think the value of news to everyone is very high even if they find reasons to not pay for it.

@karan What would you consider to be "more important stuff" that would only reach me via a newsroom and not via word of mouth?

@Coffee I'm saying if there's no one producing or covering the news, there's nothing to spread.

Here's a good example of that -

This town has no local newsroom (because no one paid for it), and so the politicians decided to pay themselves obscene amounts of public money. For a small town, this was big news. But it didn't spread because no one was looking.

@karan I see. I would say this town has systemic problems that run deeper than merely missing a local newsroom, but that's just sad.

@karan 0 - not because I can't or don't want to pay, but because I'm information-overloaded anyway and don't need another inbox that I'll feel guilty about neglecting... I see the flaws in this logic but that's how it goes ;).

@raboof fair. If you can though, you should donate to a local newsroom around you. No guilt 😀

@karan @raboof thinking out loud, maybe instead of donating money, our community could develop tools (software) to "improve" journalism or make it cost less to produce, and also tools to assist the public in consuming public research

@tomosaigon @karan as a small first step in that vein, I recently wrote a script to make already-available local public news fragments accessible in podcast form ( - I guess I should polish that up and make some noise about it ;).

@tomosaigon @raboof most of the cost of producing journalism is actually people. I don't think technology some will solve the problem of underfunded newsrooms (but can help).

@karan "Social media is not news. It's commentary." What is meant by this line? I would be very surprised if those of us in the FOSSdom used social media to obtain our news.

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