You had me at "Breaking News"
I bit the bullet this morning.
After months of staving off the temptation to subscribe to yet another news site, I hit the Washington Post pay wall for the last time -- reeled in again by a "Breaking News" blast on my phone -- and succumbed to the "subscribe" button.
Apparently I'm not alone.
Even venerated business writer and New York Times columnist James Stewart has waved the white flag.
Here he is making his concession:
Monday’s sensational headline — “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats in their Oval Office meeting last week” — was beyond interesting. Of course I clicked.
That’s when I learned I’d bumped up against The Post’s pay barrier, along with the flattering observation that “You obviously love great journalism.” And for just 99 cents for the first four weeks and a few more clicks, I could keep reading. Who could resist?
As Stewart points out, the Washington Post's numbers have skyrocketed in recent months, for a number of reasons.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought the company in 2013, hired superstar editor Marty Baron of Spotlight fame, and enabled a hiring spree that has brought in talented writers and reporters fond of the scoop.
"Scoops — and high-quality journalism more generally — are integral to The Post’s business model at a time when the future of digital journalism seemed to be veering toward the lowest common denominator of exploding watermelons and stupid pet tricks," Stewart says.
Of course, and I say this with some trepidation, there are plenty of scoops to be had lately, thanks in no small part to the occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But kudos nonetheless to The Post for investing in people able and willing to go out and dig up the scoops.
And The Post's success is good news for journalism generally, hopefully reflecting a renewed interest in worthy reporting and writing and an understanding that quality comes with a price.
As Nicholas Kristof tweeted the other day, "subscriptions are the price of democracy."