Until a few years ago, over the span of my life I’ve lived in a house with a subscription to either Newsweek or Time, and frequently both simultaneously. My mom and dad wouldn’t have considered living without one or the other. They also subscribed to the two local Cincinnati daily papers (back in the days when there were two Cincinnati daily papers), a weekly paper for our suburban city, and the Sunday New York Times (the crossword puzzle was a family endeavor).
The first year I moved into my own apartment, my parents gave me a subscription to Time every year for Christmas. We switched that to Newsweek in 1995, and the first issue I received from that subscription was a cover story about the Beatles Anthology that would be airing Thanksgiving week that year. I still have it – it’s dated October 25(ish), 1995.
I’ve saved many issues of those magazines. I have both issues from December, 1980, reporting on John Lennon’s murder. I have the issue of Newsweek the first time David Letterman made a national magazine cover. I have magazines from Princess Diana’s death, the dreaded anticipation of Y2K and how chaos might ensue, September 11, and several events in between. I regret even now that I didn’t pinch my parents’ issues of Newsweek and Time back in 1975 when Bruce Springsteen was on the cover of both the same week – but I do have my grandmother’s magazines from JFK’s assassination.
So you could say I might have a problem with hoarding when it comes to news magazines.
My husband is a neat freak (emphasis on freak, but don’t quote me). He is constitutionally unable to abide clutter and has to find a home for anything laying around (he seems to think that everything purchased but not put away somehow belongs in our pantry – like shower curtain liners, scarves, Christmas ornaments …. I check our pantry whenever I’m missing something).
When he and I first shared a roof, I had my Newsweek subscription, and during a heady moment re-subscribed to Time. He subscribed to Rolling Stone for one of the kids and a home and garden magazine. We bought several subscriptions when the kids were selling them for school fundraisers. For some still unknown reason, we subscribed to Style, which is one of the more useless publications I’ve ever seen.
It got to the point where our coffee table had several stacks of magazines that were between six inches to a foot tall. Because I want to keep certain things for posterity, my husband was forbidden from getting rid of any magazines without my approval.
It was not a good situation. It didn’t contribute to the longevity of our marriage.
Things were solved, though, in 2010 when we got iPads. Not only did the digital content replace all our magazines, but nearly all digital content was FREE! We cancelled all our subscriptions and the coffee table’s been clean for over five years.
Except ….. I kept reading that print journalism was failing. It troubled me somewhat, because there have been watershed moments in our history where journalists have exposed corruption. The Washington Post with Watergate. The Boston Globe with the Catholic priest scandals. Upton Sinclair and The Jungle (okay, that was a book). But hey, I was getting FREE digital content! And that limit of “10 free articles per month”? That’s per device. I have a home PC, an iPad, a Kindle and a smartphone. I was covered.
Except ….. this year, this election, exposed troubling weaknesses in how the electorate becomes educated. I’ve railed against what we (as of this week) call “fake news”. I’ve railed against how the electorate chooses to educate itself. I’ve railed about broadcast media’s obsession with “Emails!” and how they ignored or paid short shrift to other substantive matters.
Except ….. there were some bright spots. David Fahrenthold’s reporting on the Trump Foundation in the Washington Post is a hallmark of old-fashioned, shoe leather journalism. Kurt Eichenwald is the subject matter expert on the global reach of the Trump Organization at Newsweek (and subsequently became the target of Alt-Right hate attacks). USA Today developed and broke the story in the spring that Trump didn’t regularly pay his contractors, and the New York Times reported that Trump didn’t pay federal income tax. And when I say “reported”, I want to be clear that I mean they painstakingly gathered facts, checked and re-checked sources, developed the story, ran it through legal review, and then printed/uploaded it. You know, the stuff that Breitbart and InfoWars don’t do.
I want that to continue. And I’ve decided that the right thing for me is to financially support it again. My subscriptions are in and paid. In a nod to marital … okay, let’s go with “bliss”, I’m keeping my hoarding tendencies under control by only getting print versions of Newsweek. Well, and The Atlantic. I’ve subscribed to the digital content of both also, and the digital version of The New York Times. WaPo is next. I’m even considering a digital subscription to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the bastion of conservatism here in southwestern Ohio, since they endorsed Hillary Clinton.
I’m also giving subscriptions as Christmas gifts. Family: You’ve been warned. But I bet you don’t read this.
This time of year, many publications are running subscriptions at special rates. If you are so inclined, maybe a subscription could be a good gift from you, especially to a young voter – or to yourself? Some ideas, no particular order:
NEW YORK TIMES: Digital subscriptions right now are at 99 cents/week for the first 4 weeks, then $3.75/week thereafter. Subscribe at https://www.nytimes.com/subscriptions/Multiproduct/lp8HYKU.html?campaignId=67JJ6&gclid=CNjJgdrO3tACFRmewAodaE4JPg
NEWSWEEK: Subscriptions right now are at $4.99 for a 3 month trial that renews at $12.99/quarter if you don’t cancel it. Subscribe at: http://www.newsweek.com/subscribe
THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY: $24.50 FOR 10 print issues/year, plus digital content. Subscribe at https://w1.buysub.com/pubs/A5/ATL/cds_forms.jsp?cds_page_id=171695&cds_mag_code=ATL&id=1480994921143&lsid=63402128410029224&vid=1&cds_response_key=I16MA1D
WASHINGTON POST: $99/year (99 cents for the first 4 weeks, then $9.99 thereafter every 4 weeks = $99/year) for digital content. Subscribe at https://subscribe.washingtonpost.com/acqbeta/?wpsrc=CM0000467&ttexclude=1&hl=hl2N99#/offers/promo/dgexitmonitor_defaultnationalproduct
TIME MAGAZINE: 1 year of print only is $30; 1 year of print + digital content is $40. Subscribe at https://subscription.time.com/storefront/subscribe-to-time/site/td-flswp1116.html?link=1005013&fpa_oc=TD+SEM+Order+Form+Test+11.16
BOSTON GLOBE (includes the investigative reporting team Spotlight): $5 for the first 12 weeks, then $3.99 per week unless you cancel the subscription. After 52 weeks, you’ll be charged the full price of $6.93 per week. Subscribe at http://subscribe.bostonglobe.com/B0128/?gclid=CMm7uOPQ3tACFRmewAodaE4JPg
USA TODAY: I’m adding this because of their work reporting earlier this year on Trump’s failure to pay his contractors, but I believe most (if not all) of their content is free on an iPad. At any rate, for $19.95 you get a 3 month subscription plus a $15 gift card to a major store. Subscribe at https://offers.usatoday.com/blackfridaysale?&mkwid=sILBWp92u_dc&pcrid=163366802360&gclid=CN7bo7bR3tACFcK6wAodGBUCVQ
FINALLY, THE MEDIA SOURCES below are fine sources of news and are non-profit. A tax-deductible donation is always welcome.
PROPUBLICA: Donate at https://www.propublica.org/donate/
NPR: Donate at http://www.npr.org/stations/
PBS: Donate at http://www.pbs.org/donate/