Why we don’t do paywalls

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Judy Haiven’s story we posted yesterday, Know your rights: More on bosses breaking the law on Remembrance Day, will have found 30,000+ readers by end of day today. Based on comments on Facebook, quite a few people are discovering that their boss is not obeying the law.

Lots of other stories we have published are in the 10,000 clicks range. There is even the odd time a story hits the 50,000 click threshold.

Then again, some other stories we publish, on environmental racism, poverty and the punitive welfare policies of Community Services, the racist practice of carding, all that stuff we go on and on about, barely get 500 clicks.

You know what?  Big or small, we love them all!  You know what else? With a paywall in front of them, none of these important stories would have found any readers.

Many of our readers are poor and on welfare. A paywall “just for the price of a cup of coffee” is not very convincing if you can’t afford that cup of coffee either. Other readers just don’t do paywalls. They find a way around them, or they stick to the news that’s free.

Yet the stories we cover are often ignored by other media, or covered differently. That we’re finding thousands of readers every day shows we’re meeting a need.

Paywalls are fine if you are running a business, and what you’re selling is news. I get that, and I am all for it. However, our business model is selling change for the better, and paywalls just don’t work for that. It’s like charging access to a rally.

The other day I did a story about the terrible state of public housing in Sheet Harbour. Windows that didn’t close, a septic tank that backed up all the time, mould, the usual. A few days later a contractor started fixing thing.

Running the Nova Scotia Advocate is expensive however. I am privileged in that I am a retired civil servant, and I am getting a pension. All the peripheral stuff, things like gas, phone bills, my laptop, my parking tickets, I can take care of myself. I am happy to do so.

But other things are bit out of my range. So far in 2017 alone we have published about 40 stories by some 25 different freelancers. We paid for those stories, and I am told we pay better than some other much larger media outlets in this neck of the woods.

We can do that thanks to the many lovely people who give us a bit of money every so often, and the 30+ monthly sustainers who have made even more of a commitment to the Nova Scotia Advocate. With your help we could do a lot more. Hire more writers, cover more events, do more digging.

If you can afford it, please consider giving this here  <here>  a click and make a donation. Thank you!