To subscribe or not to subscribe? Unfortunately, given the Seattle Times Company’s decision to launch an independent expenditure campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, that has become the question.
I used to subscribe to three newspapers: the Seattle Times, the Post-Intelligencer, and the New York Times. After the P-I stopped publishing a print edition, I continue to subscribe to the other two. I mostly do it because I like newspapers and value the role they play in informing the public.
To be blunt, in this day and age, maintaining a newspaper subscription is more an act of charity than anything else. To be blunt, in this day and age, maintaining a newspaper subscription is more an act of charity than anything else. I really don't need the paper delivered in the morning—I can read it earlier online, and often do. But I keep my daily Seattle Times subscription as a personal commitment to supporting local journalism and journalists. Because of this commitment, I've never considered canceling my Times subscription, no matter how much or often they have found ways to aggravate me in the past.
But now I am really troubled by the fact that part of my money—given essentially as a gift to the Seattle Times Company to support their journalistic efforts—is being diverted to support someone else's political agenda. And yes, I'm troubled even when that agenda overlaps my own, as it does in the case of the Times' in-kind contributions to the marriage equality campaign.
I give the Seattle Times money so they produce journalism, not to pick political winners and losers. Apparently there are people over there in their senior leadership who don't understand that, or don't care. Now that they have gone down this path—despite the protests from the public and from their own newsroom—it has made me seriously consider canceling my subscription for the first time. If I take that step I think I'd gift the equivalent amount to supporting journalism, likely by giving it to KUOW.
Not sure I am going to go that route yet. Psychologically, it seems like a big step. I think at this point I'm more likely than not to grit my teeth and keep taking the Times in the morning, because I still believe in the important role a functional daily newspaper has in fostering the civic life of a community. But I'm torn.
What I am sure of is that I will never look at the print edition of the Seattle Times in quite the same way again.