KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The Nova Scotia Advocate is doing great. We matter. Some of our stories reach 60,000 readers, many others are in the 20,000 – 30,000 readers range.
Those stories are about poverty, racism, labour laws, the lack of mental health care, herbicide spraying, offshore drilling, education, all things the Nova Scotia Advocate has consistently covered ever since we published our first article (about the need to properly fund public libraries) some three years ago.
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 so many 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.
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 out of my range. So far in 2018 alone we have published and paid for some 50 stories by both professional and first voice writers. 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 50+ 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. As we grow more people submit pitches, and I’d hate to have to start turning down some of the excellent story ideas these writers submit.
If you can afford it, please consider making a one-time donation, or becoming a monthly sustainer. Thank you!