You have exhausted your five free articles this month


It’s time to pay.

That’s the message that intercepts me after I click a headline from Google News. I expect to read a story from a reputable news publication. I’m thwarted by a pop-up.

Once you exhaust your five free articles, news publications offer steep discounts. But they don’t last.

99 cents for your first month.$19.99 for every month after.

I’m not saying it’s not worth it.

I know that journalism is the fourth pillar of democracy.

But it’s hard for me to subscribe for $20/month.

It was easy with music because I spent thousands of dollars on CDs. I get as much music as I want for the price of one CD.

I subscribe to a meditation app too. But that app fill a specific niche. The value is hard to find elsewhere.

Buying the news is like buying cable TV packages. One day I’d see the bill and ask why I was paying for a bunch of things I don’t consume.

Why can’t I pay five dollars to access the news or columnist that interests me?

What changed? Our communities have splintered. We bow to the lowest common denominator: me. “The Virtue of Selfishness.”

No one wants to subsidize the stuff they don’t like.

And most — but not all — newspapers continue to fail at two things:

  1. Persuading the splinters to see themselves as part of a whole.
  2. Persuading the splinters that $19.99/month is a cheap price to pay for the benefits of community.

And if you think this challenge is only affecting newspapers, wait and watch.

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