Over the last week, I have had several people actually ask me why I have not been posting here much over the last several months. It was not until yesterday, when I bumped into a man who I had not seen in several years and he asked me about this blog, that I finally twigged to the ultimate reason that my volume dwindled off. It is not the only reason by any stretch of the imagination but I think it is the key one, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
I made the connection because these queries came in close proximity to my opportunity to start a paid digital subscription to the New York Times. I chose to subscribe, to pay for news articles that I have been reading for free, because I want to support NYTimes journalism. Even more important, I want to support its journalists. As I have watched newspapers dwindle and die across the country, I have come to realize that I have a personal responsibility to nurture the reporting on which I depend. My subscription is not much money, just 99 cents for the first month and then $5 a week. Do I get five bucks worth of enjoyment out of the NYTimes each week? Heck yes! No brainer.
A couple of years ago, the free St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Suburban Journal switched to a paid subscription model. My wife skims it; I used to get annoyed at the unread piles of paper in the driveway which I had no way to stop. After she introduced me to the reporting on my kids’ local schools and I discovered a columnist who’s articles I thoroughly enjoy, I found that I actually looked forward to the next issue. When the Suburban Journal ran a front page story asking for subscriptions so that they could continue to pay the photographers and reporters to cover the local school events, I did not hesitate; my $24 check went into the mail. If not the SJ’s reporters, whose? If not my subscription, whose? Is local professional reporting worth 50 cents a week to me? Heck yes! No brainer.
Personally, I am not looking for money. I write this blog largely because I enjoy sharing my thoughts about a wide variety of subjects. The key word in that sentence is “sharing” which, to me, implies a bit of dialog, a bit of feedback, a bit of connection with y’all. Lately, though, I had been feeling pretty disconnected from you, my Gentle Readers, and that disconnection led me to believe that you did not really care what I wrote or whether I stopped entirely.
It’s amazing how a little positive feedback can completely turn around my attitude. Just being asked about my silence made all the difference in the world.
Believe me, I am not laying the blame on anyone but me for my silence. Besides a feeling of isolation, I have spent much of the last several months delving into technologies that are geeky in the extreme and about which I am far from expert. Since I try to write for a “general” audience (not programmers) and since I try to write about subjects where I (at least believe that I) know what I am talking about, that has left me with less to say that at other times in my life. I think that I am past the not-knowing now and can share some of what I have learned with you. With a little bit o’ luck, you will enjoy the upcoming articles.
Returning to the mainstream of this evening’s symposium 🙂 I do hope that you will actively support the journalism that you enjoy. If you are reading/watching/listening to stuff from a commercial venture, even if it is a not-for-profit such as NPR or PBS, be sure that you kick some money into the ecosystem. You can do that by buying stuff from the advertisers or sponsors. You can subscribe. The important thing is to remember that the writers and photographers need salaries and the companies have bills to pay. If you take everything for free then you contribute to starving them. If they starve, eventually they will die.
If you are consuming “volunteer” journalism, such as this blog, the best support might be the easiest: Send a little love back to the author. Post a comment on the blog. Write an email. Share the blog with a friend. As for me, I would love to hear from you.
P.S. To the guy who I talked to at the EAA 32 event on Saturday: I am embarrassed to admit that I have already forgotten your name. Would you get back in touch with me?