What kind of job do you recommend to someone who wants to get rich? Probably lawyer, banker, investor, software engineer, journalist, or doctor, right? Wait, one of those doesn’t belong.
Indeed — you don’t go into media to become a multimillionaire, or even a millionaire, or even a thousandaire. You go into media out of a passion and commitment to helping the world through the written word or spoken word.
In an age of vastly democratized publishing and an overabundance of free content, though, it has become increasingly difficult for professional journalists and writers to make decent money and stay in the business.
I see notes like the following one routinely, but this is one of the most chilling and tweetworthy I’ve seen:
Before I go on, let me point out that Amy Westervelt is focused on local journalists in that thread, which is a noble thing to be focused on. Local journalism is getting decimated, and that’s not good for society. So, yeah, go support your local paper or top media outlet, but also read on.
As Amy points out, the solution many of us in the business have been turning to is persuading people to become paying subscribers. This is helpful for many reasons I’ve pointed out before — it helps writers and media outlets focus on what matters (rather than simply what gets the most clicks), it assists with a useful feedback loop between customer (reader) and company (us), and it guards against big difficult changes in the online media ecosystem that is too heavily controlled by one or two companies (but mostly just one).
Anyway, I’m not going to rant any longer (today) about how much we need you to subscribe. The news today is twofold. First of all, we’ve now set up a “CleanTechnica Pro” arm of our site, and some of our more original and exclusive content will be published there behind a tiny little paywall. All you have to do is subscribe at a rate of $3/month and you can read those articles. Of course, if you have the funds and want to further support (and increase) our work, you can provide monthly contributions at the $10, $25, or $100 level. The more, the merrier! And thank you to those of you who already subscribe at that level!
There are other benefits to being a subscriber as well — live or early access to podcasts and webinars, access to our fresh new CleanTechnica Discord server at higher levels, and some other goodies you can view here. In fact, the second piece of news is that we are also just launching the CleanTechnica Discord server. If you want to join, here’s an invitation link, and someone will confirm you are a paying subscriber as quickly as possible and admit you if you are.
With the fun out of the way, let’s get back to the problem for a moment.
Related: this chart is from 2014, so I'm looking for more recent data. But this is not a great trend. https://t.co/5vpvO6EX5K
— Amy Westervelt (@amywestervelt) March 19, 2021
Are we going to get rich and go buy mansions off of these monthly contributions? Definitely not. The more we make, the more content we can fund, and that’s our goal — to create more good content. But you do have to pay great writers and researchers half-decent wages if you want to keep them involved. Otherwise, they move on to other jobs.
So, if you’re into the kind of thing we do here at CleanTechnica, remember that “nothing is free” (as some critics/haters were sure to remind me recently after I wrote about spending $0 on charging in nearly 3 years), and a little funding goes a long way in the underpaid media profession. We do this for society. Otherwise, if we were selfishly chasing money, we could just jump ship and work in the PR business writing what corporations want for a lot more money — apparently, that’s where the professional writing industry has been shifting, or at least where the money’s been headed. And I’m not hating on good PR people. I know a lot of them! But the PR business is not the media business, and in my opinion, the latter deserves some cash money too.
Whoops, I wasn’t supposed to rant about how we need your support. I was just supposed to pull out the stick and whack you on the head (no
soup article for you!) while putting some carrots over at CleanTechnica Pro. Not into carrots? We also have parsley. Stay tuned.
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Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...