Each of us has a certain amount of money we’re able to spend supporting our media—newspapers, magazines, independent journalists, etc. Last year I subscribed to The Washington Post, and their reporting in Washington, DC, has been invaluable. I listened to their companion podcast, which skimmed over some of their recent articles for the week. As my renewal date approached, I reevaluated which media outlet I used the most. I found that I shared many articles from The Guardian after reading them.
I also subscribe to several of The Guardian’s podcasts: Today In Focus, The Longread, and Football Weekly. At left is a screenshot of the most recent episodes I have in my queue (I use the iCatcher app for podcast management.).
As many news operations struggle to find their ideal revenue model, I like The Guardian’s approach for subscriptions—pay what you can. This means everyone has access to their content, and you decide on your ad-free options. I chose to subscribe to Plus membership, which means I can use the iPhone and iPad apps ad free and access their Live feeds for $66/year. However, I will still see ads on their website, because I prefer not to pay for their highest option. (Before subscribing, I would occasionally donate a flat $20.)
When the iPad was introduced in 2010, one of the selling points was readability. Reading an electronic “newspaper” was one of the first examples on how useful this tool could be. The App Store is mature enough now that we should have a minimal expectation of functionality, especially with media. When I open The Guardian app on the iPad (right), I see a well-curated range of articles and it’s easy to navigate. Color is used effectively—a red block means it’s a Live Feed (continuously updated throughout the day). If I have read an article, the title turns a lighter shade of gray.
I found The Washington Post iPad app (right) laborious to navigate. It always opens to two articles taking up the whole screen and you have to enlarge one of them to be big enough to read. To get back, you have to double tap again or tap on the upper left-hand corner to get a list of other articles (no graphics or context to them). Their iPad app feels like an afterthought.
On content, The Guardian provides a broader look at world news. While politics seems to contaminate every news cycle here in the U.S., I still want to know what else is going on in the world. I also appreciate a news organization that changes how they approach an issue based on facts. One example is climate change—The Guardian now uses the term: climate emergency. They took the time to explain why they changed their terminology and why it’s important.
At the end of the day, reputation is everything. A news organization is only as good as its reputation. Ronan Farrow’s book, Catch & Kill, reiterated my trust in the reporting from The New Yorker. Based on NBC’s actions with Farrow’s reporting and how they handled the Matt Lauer sexual harassment complaints, they have lost my trust. NBC renewed the employment contract with Noah Oppenheim and Andy Lack is still Chairman, confirming they don’t take this seriously. I don’t normally know the names of media execs, but now I do.
I want to reward organizations for their good work. I think free access to The Guardian is a smart business move, and granting open access to their content leads to people being better informed as a society. The Guardian created great apps that make interactions with their content easier to navigate and reflect on the facts they have presented. For the next year, The Guardian will be getting my funding as well as The New Yorker.