I grew up watching my dad flip through the San Jose Mercury Newspaper. I remember stealing the funny pages and having to wash the ink off my fingertips. I love the idea of newspapers, but unlike my love of the idea of baseball – I actually do love newspapers. There is just something utterly romantic about them. I love what they represent. The incredible service that they provide. Their unarguable importance. One of my absolute favorite films is His Girl Friday. I love that the freedom of the press is included in our very first amendment and it is the one I hold most dear.
Yet, since the advent of the Internet we have become less and less inclined to pay for the service protection the press provide. We have grown accustom to getting everything for free. And we are bombarded with free content every time we turn to a screen. But, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you aren’t paying for the news, and choosing to rely on the free content – you can’t honestly believe that you are getting the very best quality reporting. If you can even call what you are reading online reporting.
I was ecstatic to hear that digital subscriptions at The New York Times jumped 46 percent in 2017. Given the current state of affairs in the world, it is vital that people stay informed and, say what you may about “the establishment media” The New York Times is a credible publication with an impeccable code of ethics. However, while this paper was riding high, my own beloved Merc, which is now part of the Bay Area News Group, announced yet another round of layoffs.
I commend The New York Times digital subscribers. In fact, I am one of them. We absolutely need to have an eye on what is happening on the national level, but equally important is what is happening in your own community. We need reporters keeping tabs on what is happening in our neighborhoods, on our school boards and at city hall. These local stories often become national headlines. Change happens at the local level and you cannot effectively impact change if you are uninformed or, perhaps worse, misinformed.
The former Publisher and Co-owner of the Washington Post Phil Graham once said that the news is the first rough draft of history. We must all do our part to ensure that we provide future historians with a draft that is based on facts, investigation and critical thinking. I implore you to support journalism by subscribing to your local newspaper. History depends on it. Our democracy depends on it.