Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pay for your news visualizations and infographics

A few days ago I launched a quixotic Twitter campaign (#payForJournalism) to convince my followers to subscribe to their favorite news organizations, whether print or online. I believe that paying for the journalism you consume regularly is a civic duty—if you can afford it, of course. If you think that good, honest reporting is essential for democracy, not endorsing it with your money makes you a free rider. It's ethically wrong.

I'm now a subscriber to The New York Times, the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New Tropic, the New Yorker, the Weekly Standard, the Atlantic, and I'll likely make a donation to ProPublica at the end of this year.

No, I don't have time to read all that. That's not the point. I don't pay for the privilege of reading or seeing everything that journalists at those organizations write or design. I pay because I know that the work they do is fundamental for a healthy public conversation. Have you seen Spotlight? You should. A single story like that is worth the price of a year's subscription. Without journalists, much wrongdoing would go unnoticed, many stories would be untold, much science would remain unexplained. We can't afford that.

Paying for your favorite journalism also means supporting the people who produce the wonderful data journalism, visualizations, and infographics you enjoy in social media every day. The photograph on the right is from today's Miami Herald. Kara Dapena is the author of those graphics. I'm proud to support organizations that pay the salaries of people like her.