Our journalism is funded by our members. So how much is the price of a membership?
That price is: what you choose to pay.
After careful deliberation, we decided the best pricing model, closest to our values, is Choose What You Pay. Because we believe in a pricing model based on trust, inclusivity, and solidarity.
- We trust you to choose a fair price that’s appropriate to your financial situation.
- We feel journalism should be inclusive — it should be affordable for everybody.
- We believe in the power of solidarity: those who can afford a little more can help keep our journalism accessible to those on a tighter budget.
It’s important to pay — but how much?
When advertisers are paying (most of) the bills, it’s your attention that’s the product being sold. Which means: more clickbait, less substance. So when readers fund journalism themselves, it will radically improve the quality of it.
But how much should we pay for journalism?
At The Correspondent, we’ve thought long and hard about that question. Most newspaper subscriptions average out around $10 per month. That’s a reasonable amount — and not too hard for many people to afford.
But definitely not for everybody. What’s easy for one person to pay is an unaffordable luxury for another. Yet journalism should be a public good that’s accessible to everyone.
In this sense, fixed prices for journalism are actually bad for democracy. Because it makes an affordable product to some into an unaffordable luxury good to others. Especially when you take into account that prices vary enormously from source to source and can actually reach pretty tidy sums.
An inclusive price based on trust and solidarity
At The Correspondent, we believe reliable information should be a public good. Not by making it free, but by making it affordable to everybody. That’s why we’ve decided to take a bold next step in our business model.
Five years ago, when we launched our Dutch platform, De Correspondent, we committed ourselves to being completely advertisement free — we have never taken an ad dollar and we’re going to keep it that way.
Today, we also say goodbye to the traditional subscription model with its fixed price. We believe that you, our members, are in a better position to decide what our journalism should cost you.
We believe that you, our members, are in a better position to decide what our journalism should cost you
As I mentioned, this pricing model is based on three fundamental values we hold in high regard at The Correspondent. Let’s explore them a bit further.
The first value is trust. We believe that the vast majority of people are not free riders. That’s why we’re convinced you’ll select a fair price to pay for your membership. A price that reflects what you can afford and what you believe independent, ad-free journalism is worth.
The second value is inclusivity. Whether you can afford $3 or $300 per month: reliable information is equally important to us all. That’s why we believe that access to our journalism shouldn’t depend on your purchasing power. Our price is intended to be as inclusive as possible.
The third value is solidarity. Those who can afford to pay more for membership enable others to pay less. In so doing, we help each other keep journalism accessible for everyone. That way it remains a public good without having to be free.
Choose What You Pay: is that another way of saying “donation”?
Now you may be thinking: if I can set my own price for membership, doesn’t that make it a donation? No, because we don’t view our journalism as a charitable cause.
We want to provide you with a service you’re willing to pay for because it has value for you. By letting you set your own price, we’re challenged to be as valuable to you as we can. That unites the best of both worlds: a public good that’s affordable for everyone and the incentive of a free market to keep improving ourselves. You’re not buying a product. You’re not subsidising a charity. You’re joining a cause.
If you don’t know what you want to pay, you can always just choose the national monthly average of $10. And if you can pay more, we’ll obviously cheer you on. Because that lets us welcome even more members whose budgets are a little less forgiving.
Together, we can build a movement for radically different news.
This article was first published on Medium.com, and has been modified from its original version.