I consume a lot of media. I also pay for a lot of it.
When I started out in journalism, there was a massive shift taking place, driven by the web, towards free access. But it wasn’t just the web. During college I worked evenings as an intern at the newly-launched Metro; I then worked on free-to-access online news at the London Evening Standard and came up through The Guardian, which has long been an opponent of paywalls. Partly because of this, I used to be pretty strongly against paywalls on principle, but I’m certainly not a fundamentalist. Matter was a lean subscription play at first, although it shifted as ownership changed; Anxy was an expensive print-first product; Technology Review has a metered paywall.
Over the years I’ve built up a significant list of subscriptions to many publications and services and a few individuals. It’s now at least 50, probably significantly more: I started out making a full list of all my subs, but it was long and boring. And I’m pretty sure I missed a few off there, particularly small indy magazines.
These range from the pretty mainstream stuff like The New York Times and The Atlantic (neither of which need me as a subscriber, and have corners of problematic output) to the mid-range (I love my London Review of Books) to the small press and esoteric services: The Nib‘s wonderful comics; Sonia Weiser’s regular lists of freelance journalism opportunities.
I wanted to highlight a few that I would recommend that may be new to you.
The Browser I love this curated email roundup of great stories, and have been a subscriber for a few years now. I don’t read it every day, but I always find something worthwhile in there. Interestingly one of the few email newsletters that moved away from Substack, rather than towards it.
Logic One of my favorite subscribes of the past few years, this actually does come out of the Bay Area. It’s three years in or so, and I honestly have absolutely no idea how it’s doing, but it’s always thought-provoking and has a point of view.
Stack This has been absolutely one of the most rewarding subscriptions I have: a monthly surprise delivery of an independent magazine. They were very kind to Anxy in its earliest days, but each edition never fails to delight.