Man, I hate it...
The routine is becoming set. Someone recommends one of those newsletters that is on some private service (think: Substack, but there are many that are popping up) where a great writer posts some quite good analysis, or daily read (think: The Bullwark, Shero, Brickhouse, and latest Puck) and you are hooked.
Sure, many, if not most have a "free" tier, and they tease you with some of their "other" content behind the paywall, and then they set the hook to reel you in. $5 a month here, $7.50 a month there, and soon, you are spending $40 or more per month.
But the reality is that these business models have emerged because of the hollowing out of quality journalism across the spectrum. Sure, the NY Times, and the WaPo, as well as The Atlantic and others remain solid, but what is missing is the rest. Thus, the journalists and thinkers are taking the offramp and building a presence.
I get it. I don't have to like it, but it makes sense. Of course, I pay for a year to save the ten or fifteen percent. I do not mind supporting the individuals. They have to eat. And their work does bring me some joy, or at least some moments of thought and cogitation.
I also support a handful of creators on Patreon as well. $2 to $5 a month there is the norm.
The one thing I worry about is this proliferation of targeted, audience specific content will drive more people into their cocoons of comfort, never to be challenged. I try to spread my subs across a diverse set of sources, to challenge myself, and to expose myself to some points of view that I am not wholly in alignment with, but I fear that most people will wrap themselves into an echo chamber that reinforces their natural biases and opinions. Look at the right wing media ecosystem around Fox News, OANN, and Newsmax. Not a lot of balance there, regardless of their tag lines. (and yes, I do wade into Fox News' web property often enough to gauge their slant. Chris Wallace is still a solid journo.)
You get what you pay for. Caveat emptor and all that jazz.