Newspaper subscription to help support the free press
December 4, 2016 1:32 PM   Subscribe

I have a limited budget and am looking for suggestions for a national newspaper and a local-ish paper (Oregon) that I can subscribe to electronically. I'd like to balance getting good value for my money with actually doing good with my money. For example, I am attracted to the New York Times for the vast access to information it affords me, but wonder if my money wouldn't have a better impact at another paper that doesn't have so many subscribers. Any suggestions for specific papers (or perhaps other sources of journalism?) and why would be appreciated.
posted by Bibliogeek to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I know the Washington Post has offered free digital access to subscribers of papers all across the country. So check to see if your local paper offers it free with your subscription. The cost savings will allow you to get print and digital editions of a nearby paper, and free digital access to the Post.
posted by lpsguy at 1:46 PM on December 4, 2016

The Guardian is a UK-based paper with an excellent US edition online, which deserves support. It's free but you can be a supporter for $5/month (or more of course).
posted by anadem at 2:43 PM on December 4, 2016

The New York Times is actively under attack by our president elect and very much needs support. They are losing money. Just because a good number of people subscribed after the election does not mean that they don't need more subscribers. If you already like it and want to read it? I'd put my money there (and in fact, I do!)
posted by sockermom at 2:51 PM on December 4, 2016

You could consider contributing to ProPublica, whose work gets published in a variety of places.
posted by lakeroon at 3:20 PM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Street Roots
posted by aniola at 3:21 PM on December 4, 2016

Street Roots mission statement:

Street Roots creates income opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and poverty by producing a newspaper and other media that are catalysts for individual and social change.

posted by aniola at 3:22 PM on December 4, 2016

If you have a Kindle (even an inexpensive used one) a NYT subscription is only $19.95. This will also give you access to the Times on the web. ProPublica is also available for the Kindle for a very inexpensive price.
posted by Raybun at 3:39 PM on December 4, 2016

Came to suggest ProPublica.

Probably avoid Gannett or Tribune Company papers. They've got a reputation for corporate management, meaning layoffs and therefore less actual reporting.

The Oregonian is the main paper in Portland, but I don't know anything about it.

Also consider NPR and PBS, both nationally and locally.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:56 PM on December 4, 2016

If there is a community newspaper, perhaps a weekly, near your location, check it out. I used to work for one. It is a grass-roots kind of journalism and a place for young journalists to get their feet wet. Community papers are often locally owned as well and represent the free press better than a big corporation.
posted by lazydog at 8:13 PM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

The mainstream weeklies are kind of meh in my opinion. Those are the Portland Mercury and the WIllamette Weekly. I read in the Willamette Weekly recently that they have a higher readership count than the Oregonian, actually. Or something. They think they're pretty good, but I'm comparing them against Sacramento's SN&R, which is so much better at critical thinking and in-depth journalism in my opinion.

There's also The Skanner, which strikes me as otherwise mainstream but good at doing related topics related to people of color. And, as mentioned above, there's also Street Roots.

There's also interest-specific stuff, like for bikes. Plus lots of stuff I'm not aware of because I don't actually think much about local newspapers except when they turn up in front of my face. Here's Wikipedia's list of newspapers in Oregon.
posted by aniola at 8:41 PM on December 4, 2016

In response to your "or other sources of journalism" request, what I do is subscribe to a lot of listserves, including volunteer lists. Anything I'm interested in, I sign up for their listserv. It's great! I get to learn all sorts of things!

Right now everyone is doing their Give Guide push for one of the weeklies, so for instance the Portland Fruit Tree Project is doing a six-week series of weekly stories, where they tell an interesting story related to their organization. And the North Portland Tool Library just sent out an email about a matching donation they just got that will help them complete their tiny new annex. Someone on the Bike Loud PDX listserv just got back from a month-long bike tour and has a hankering to do some tabling in the rain, get some topical thank you postcards sent. Etc. Other people may use social media to do this.

I know which organizations are doing a call for volunteers or a push for money because I'm on their listservs. And to me, that's news. That's people out there, irl, making the news happen.
posted by aniola at 8:53 PM on December 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing Propublica and Grist also does some great work, too (albeit with a bit of a bend towards the environment).
posted by getawaysticks at 3:13 AM on December 5, 2016

I pay for the online-only NYT subscription, and I pay for a weekend-only print subscription to one of the local papers in my city. It's a comfortable balance: the NYT, for its failings (ahem science journalism), has a kind of access and reach that is possibly unparalleled; my local paper, for its failings, covers the people and events operating within the few miles of earth I mostly live on, and I really enjoy a thick local Sunday paper for the only day of the week I have the time to leisurely read it front to back.

Others have mentioned ProPublica. I've been paying much more attention to them the past year, and I think they're a noble cause that will grow in importance over time. I also very much appreciate that their online interface is about as basic and uncluttered as modern journalism gets: nothing flashy, but also nothing flashing/autoplaying/advertising.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:38 AM on December 5, 2016

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