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    • I've had this nagging in the back of my mind: information is worth paying for but I've lost control. No matter how many services I subscribe to, I get blocked by paywalls and nagged by popups.

      I pay for maybe 10 services (?), I can't remember them all. WIRED, Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Information, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Mercury News. I need a spreadsheet to remember them.

      When using Google News, I get a message saying you've read your 5 Los Angeles Times articles for the month. Subscriber? Enter your info in the Google Play store. How? I tried to figure that out and gave up.

      So...Apple News? $9.99/month. That's half of what I pay for my Wall Street Journal sub and Apple News supposedly includes it.

      Anyone figured this out?

    • Chris, I suspect I'm a bit skeptical paying for "news". Today's definition of "news" is greatly blurred compared to when we were youngsters and grew up watching Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley; true journalists in every sense of the term, bringing the NEWS into our living rooms every weekday zero cost.

      However, periodical content is a different matter. I still prefer to receive paper magazines from select publishers. Such as Taunton Press's "Fine Gardening", "Fine Homebuilding" and "Fine Cooking". I also receive "Overland Journal". All are coffee table worthy IMO.

      I don't receive any paid digital "news" content. Yet, I do support via donation several industry forums of interest.

      If you have any suggestions that greatly peak your interest (not needing a spreadsheet to recall the name) I'd be interested knowing the name(s).

      Perhaps pricing structure/plans, bundled content as you illustrated, simply confounds me to the point I simply pass altogether.


    • Yes, it really is getting WIERD.

      I have subscribed to the Wall Street Journal for >30 years - it was the only major newspaper that would actually send me a daily edition to my home address in small town Indiana.

      The New York Times would send me advertisements/inducements in my daily US snail mail - but when ever I tried to signup for it, I was told they did not deliver in my area - Go figure!!

      I subscribe to several magazines in paper form, mostly because I signed up long before digital editions even existed, but I am now wanting to divest print on paper - just so I have less stuff coming into my home these days. I have stopped the print editions of WSJ and Barron's for that reason.

      I did subscribe for the digital version of the Washington Post - mostly at your suggestion and I do like it.

      I did not sign up for Apple News - just another $120 bucks a year for stuff I didn't think I would want. If I thought I would get the digital Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post and Wired with an Apple News subsription that would be cash positive for me, so maybe I need to reconsider.

      But Amazon keeps wanting me to accept Amazon Music, and Apple keeps yammering at me to accept Apple Music - but I am quite happy with Spotify Premium and don't plan to add other music services.

      Apple News is a bit annoying, because even with my paid subscription to WSJ and Washington Post, whenever I try to read and article in Apple News, suggested to me BY Apple News, I can't read the articles without leaving the Apple News App and going to the WSJ or WP apps. Argh! And the New York Times keeps reminding me I only have three article left this months or something. I get the same pitch from the Atlantic.

      Like you said, I almost need a spreadsheet to keep track of every thing. I actually did start a spread sheet to try to keep track of the monthly debits in my credit cards for this digital dross.

      If you have found a solution, I am all ears!!

    • How do you decide what news is worth paying for? 

      When I find myself regularly hitting paywalls from great articles shared on social media from the same news purveyor:

      New York Times

      Washington Post


      New Yorker (print edition)

      I’ve been tempted to get WSJ, especially since @Pathfinder occasionally shares their articles, but I’ve managed to feel sufficiently informed on a deep-dive level without it.

      The problem I had with the Apple News app is that it kept pushing suggestions of entertainment news and articles from less reliable sources. Curious if you’ve experienced similar signal to noise ratio issues.

      One news service that I did find useful was the political coverage from Huff Post and it was convenient when I viewed it in the Apple News app.

      This conversation just reminded me of that so I just downloaded the Huff Post app. I’ll let you know if it’s worth the trouble.

    • Subliminally, perhaps Stephen is spot on in my regards to purchasing information content. I do not need or want to be bombarded with notifications/suggestions for content that someone else (probably a computer/algorithm) might think I will be interested in!

      When I say I'm "old school", I truly am. I know what I want after research (or at least think I do), go to the store (or online), buy it, and go home. I don't "shop" for much of anything, including news.

      Noting how many "news" subscriptions Chris maintains, I wonder, if "news" is now abstract informative content? Thus, we now have to shop around and purchase "news" that appeals to us individually? Like any other consumer product.

    • I wonder, if "news" is now abstract informative content? hey Thus, we now have to shop around and purchase "news" that appeals to us individually? Like any other consumer product.

      What an intriguing question to ponder.

      Pre-internet, I would occasionally pick up a copy of The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. I appreciate intelligent writing, and regardless of my occasional complaints with the fairness or completeness of some of their coverage, I still feel that you can get a comprehensive view of the news in the US from either of them.

      The New Yorker is in many ways a regional magazine on New York City, a city that’s forever fascinating to me from a distance. The “Table for Two” column is a joy to read about fancy restaurants I couldn’t afford to dine in, as well as locals only ethnic restaurants serving amazing food that I’ve never experienced.

      At the same time, the magazine does ten page deep dives into politics, people and events, which makes me feel incredibly more informed.

      It also broadens my knowledge on areas that I may not have previously been interested in, but am now glad that I’ve been exposed to. Medium does the same for me. As does Cake.

      Maybe it’s a version of FOMO: fear of missing out on learning or gaining knowledge.

      I’ve found that people who have spent an extraordinary amount of time gaining knowledge for their careers tend to have the greatest appreciation for learning new things and an almost insatiable appetite for gaining new knowledge: physicians, attorneys, PhDs come to mind.

    • My point of view is a democracy depends on an informed electorate and, as in almost everything, you get what you pay for.

      Sometimes an org like the Pew Research Center will conduct surveys that ask what news sources you use and then ask basic questions, like who the vice president is, does the nation run a deficit, etc. Results bounce around some from survey to survey, but NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sunday morning interview shows, ABC and NBC, Last Week Tonight, non-fiction books and the BBC do very well.

      The partisan sources, like Fox and MSNBC, are always near the bottom, Fox nearly always in last place and below the people who say they don't follow news.

      If NPR is first and Fox last, it's tough to come to grips with Fox being like 100x the popularity of NPR.

      How people do on those tests is different from their perception of the most credible news sources. Here's a typical survey result of perceived credibility:

    • an independent media, reporting the truth is essential in this age of fake news.

      I don’t do politics but 45 is running roughshod over the mainstream media, lying at will.

      I don’t mind paying to read facts and informed op ed articles.

    • If NPR is first and Fox last, it's tough to come to grips with Fox being like 100x the popularity of NPR.

      ...and yet, people pay real money to watch Fox (basic cable...) versus NPR (available in many areas via over-the-air antennas).

      Fascinating, isn't it?

    • Chris

      I think your chart vividly illustrates the point I was trying to make.

      Why are the news organizations inverted in the respective columns?

      Simply put, opinion and factual news content is intermingled to the extent news organization in both columns are perceived as biased in their reporting. And more importantly, fail to deliver news in a manner that is factually complete and not edited to convey a meaning something other than what actually happened or was said.

      Why it is important to watch/read as much news as possible. Somewhere in the middle of these perceived polarized news organizations, what actually happened or was said may be discovered...perhaps.

      In regards, to an informed electorate...

      I have given up trying to discuss substantive issues with many folks simply because too many people wear Republican or Democratic blinders (as in horse blinders).

      Fortunately my Congressman, Joe Cunningham (D), remains issue oriented. And frankly, that is all a constituent can ask.

    • So we need to be informed only so that we may not miss something, so we can play democratically. All the while an apparent majority of the politicians keep twisting the truth, the rules, and the entire game, any chance they get. This quest for news would be better addressed if we just had a system similar to the one in Eastern block, during the Iron curtain when it operated two central government TV channels we used to have, broadcasting starting 8 PM, then turning the TV off with a cheerful song about the construction cranes we were supposed to enthusiastically work on, next day. Arbeit macht frei. Except here its peppered with rightful outrage and confusing half truths, the care for all human beings (they always come first) and plain lies at every step, because "freedom of speech!!" By the way, we knew all that was BS back then, but I wonder what helps today sift through the maze of junk, and why? What difference does it make anymore? To whom? I mean if the game is rigged, you keep playing it same way yet expect different results?

    • Today, in Washington DC, it is all about political power.

      President Obama railed against the filibuster and demanded the Senate adopt a 50 +1 vote scheme; basically eliminating the filibuster. Yet, as a Senator, he strongly supported the filibuster during President "W" Bush's two terms.

      One of the staunchest supporters of the filibuster his entire career was Senator Richard Byrd. Senator Byrd was adamant (as well as many other Senators of his day on both sides of the aisle) that the Senate minority has a right to be heard in the chamber and their ideas considered. Some of the most famous legislation to pass through the Senate in the 60s was a result of negotiating workable, compromised solutions. Sadly, very little gets done for the American people in the halls of Congress today due to extreme partisanship.

      Further, Speaker "Tip" O'Neill and President Reagan had a very good working relationship; crafting numerous pieces of legislation signed into law. Two gentlemen who cared more about the country than towing a strict party line at all costs.

      There is a little known caucus in the House I wish folks would pay more attention too...the "Problem Solvers Caucus". Sadly, "powerful" members do not wish to participate.

      Citizens do not know how good true democracy is until they lose it.

      Study Chile and General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the brutal, ruthless dictator who seized power in 1973. After Pinochet was ousted in a 1988 vote, Chile adopted what I would describe as a more representative, democratic government than we now enjoy in the US.

    • It pains me to read about the low opinion of the media. I understand, it’s very widespread.

      Some of my greatest heroes and friends are journalists (one here on Cake) and it’s a very hard gig.

    • I wonder how not why, professional media (if I may call them so vs. amateurs) arrived at this status. Is it when they decided money for innuendo advertising, or much worse spinning particular viewpoints on reality, was better than subscriptions for honest journalism?

      Sites like this (never heard before today about them) seem to offer all the news one can read, for free... what's the catch?

    • I think news curation newsletters can be invaluable in finding stories of personal interest to you. You run the risk of only hearing what you want to if you aren’t regularly reading the major newspapers, imho, but as a supplement they can be quite informative.

      As an example, this is a curation newsletter with a liberal/left bent that was started when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency.

      I know Kara Swisher has a newsletter on technology news, as another example, which I subscribed to previously.

      Should newsletters be considered in crafting your news diet to stay informed?

    • Kara Swisher has a newsletter on technology news

      I know Kara very well. At one time we were going to work together on a story about patent trolls in Eastern Texas. She was tough enough to want to pursue the story but I got cold feet and dropped it.

      The trolls would have come for us with accusations of bias and distorting the truth and they would have won in the minds of millions of people because they have so much money and they don't mind making things up.

      I think it was an important story that needed telling but the price you have to pay as a journalist to tell it is too high.

    • I wonder how not why, professional media (if I may call them so vs. amateurs) arrived at this status.

      Unfortunately, the how is often soul-destroying. Here's a mild example:

      John Carreyrou worked for the WSJ covering medical companies. The hottest new company in the space was Theranos, led by the female version of Steve Jobs. They had revolutionary tech to deliver a whole suite of blood tests from a finger prick. It raised hundreds of millions from people as distinguished as George Shultz, the former Secretary of State.

      But John is a smart guy and could see this might be too good to be true, so he attempted to write his doubts about the company. Companies whose fortunes fall if a reporter writes a negative story unleash the hounds, and Theranos unleashed none other than attack dog David Boies, who defended Harvey Weinstein. They unleashed the same tactics against John as they did reporters who were trying to report on Weinstein.

      Boies uncovered that Tyler Schultz had messaged John on LinkedIn. Tyler was a researcher at Theranos who wanted to tell John anonymously that the Theranos tests didn't work. It was a matter of public safety and defrauding investors.

      Tyler had to defend himself, which cost him $400,000 in money he didn't have and caused him to be estranged from his grandfather, George Shultz. John and the WSJ had to go through Hell, but they eventually prevailed and were proven right, but not before John became a public enemy with a huge target on his back. Theranos investor Tim Draper, a widely admired figure here in Silicon Valley, went on TV whenever he could to discredit John and journalism.

      I think John and the reporters who hung in there through years of Hell investigating Weinstein and Epstein should be considered national heroes, not the scum most Americans think they are. They could have saved a lot more underaged girls and aspiring actresses sooner if their reputations weren't so successfully attacked.

    • It only takes one to poison the well for all. There are journalists (at newspapers and on TV) who poison the well at every opportunity.

      And I know there are many fine journalist honoring the craft. But, if they aren't in "the resistance" or backing the administration, then their articles are buried in Section E of the paper or on TV sometime around 2am; if provided an outlet at all.

    • Chris, this is so much for me to take all in, I didn't know how to "react" because I needed to use several emoji at once! Mind blown is one of them, but the "love" one won. Thank you so much for sharing such views and portraying such vividly the realistic events. So my take away on this bit is that it's everything about the view created about the subject topic of news, because uncovering uncomfortable truth hurts investors. I have an intrinsic aversion to investing because I do not understand and can't agree to the "Boiler Room" mentality, always wonder if stock markets aren't the evilest human creation.

    • another great example of investigative journalism, against fierce opposition, is the Boston Globe investigation into clerical abuse, and consealment of same, by the Catholic Church in Boston.

      Spotlight, a movie about above is well worth a look.

    • I know, it kills me. Trying to keep my Southern Utah family alive in the age of Covid when their go-to sources of expertise are Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, who informed them that Hydroxychloroquine is a game changing drug — and Dr. Fauci has been continually wrong — is truly scary.

      Ingraham and Hannity are rich and famous whereas the journalists who report the science faithfully are lost in the noise. It’s not an exciting story to read that trials of Hydroxychloroquine are disappointing.

      But I blame us, not the journalists. We are the ones who elevated Ingraham and Hannity with our viewership. It’s the same way we made Coke rich and vegetable growers poor.

    • Thanks, Dracula. It’s so much for all of us to take in. The very hardest thing for me to understand for years has been when journalists or bloggers don’t just question or doubt experts — I think that’s normal and healthy — it’s when they go all the way to presenting themselves as experts, and experts as idiots. And then they amass huge audiences.

      But this morning I watched this interview with the author of The End Of Expertise and felt like hmmm, maybe there is a way I can finally understand some of the mindsets.

      I’d be interested in hearing what others think.

    • I think social media has amplified and strengthened this truth twisting phenomena allowing lies to propagate, until they became the norm. And now this technique of smearing truth and reputations, is the go to tool in the arsenal of politics. It's so easy for them to apply it anywhere a more than binary thought process is required from the audience, they made it so easy and comfortable for anyone to lie and deceive, whereas before all media was "official channels" or at least professional publications, hence my guess - was at those times thoroughly scrutinized by folks with their heads on their shoulders. Now everyone is a content producer, just as I am, now. More data is better than quality data, I forget where I saw that..

      I didn't grow up here and really value everyone's insightful input here, yet somehow I learned that when I need a quick hilarious and sarcastic yet to my mind quite to the point explanation about the American society, the archive of gems this man left us never fails to deliver!

    • And Chris Cuomo, Jim Acosta, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski...all rich because they market themselves to a specific audience (and marketing)! I long for the days when you could tune into any network or cable news outlet and hear the same reporting.

      Back in the early/mid 80s, I ran in the same SC/GA coastal sailing circle as Ted Turner when his son Teddy was at the Citadel. I have many fond memories of chatting with Ted back then.

      Ted's mentor for reporting and documenting was Jacque Cousteau. Perhaps the reason CNN had such high regard across many walks of life under Turner's ownership. Few could report the facts about the state of our oceans better than Cousteau in his documentaries. And Turner hired newsmen/women who could deliver the same type of reporting.

      One of Turner's biggest regrets was being forced out at CNN in a boardroom takeover after the sell to AOL Time Warner. He was so displeased with the course of CNN under AOL Time Warner ownership and with the closing of the Turner Environmental Division, he once quipped his tombstone should read..."Here lies Ted Turner, sponsored by Coca-Cola".

      I enjoyed many fine sailing outings with Ted/Teddy along the SC/GA coastlines and hunts on his Colleton and Beaufort County properties. I have met few men who live life as close to the edge, be it business ventures or sailing. And Ted/Teddy were tough to beat on a Hobbie 18, you had to be a good racer to challenge them! And could Ted throw a party to beat all parties post race!

      I wish Ted the best as he battles Lewy Body Dementia.

    • Wow. that’s amazing!! You’re really lucky to have had that experience. Back in the day I was quite obsessed with him like I am Elon Musk now.

      I was thinking, as I wrote about the other journalists, how ad and corporate sponsorships would never fund some of the investigative journalism I admire. Elon feels journalists have become ad salesmen, paid by the click.

      Of course, some people claim he has gone down the same path by breaking through the noise via sensational tweets.