You get what you pay for

THE entitlement of many online users to free news content is disturbing.
For months I have kept quiet as keyboard warriors have posted comments on The Bunyip’s Facebook page demanding the end of our paywall and free access to every article.
There’s certainly no shortage of free content from mainstream newspapers, blogs and magazines online, but when we’re all drowning in an endless ocean of yarns and videos, I assure you it is worth paying for access to unbiased and carefully curated content from a trusted source.
People pay to have cell phones and to have TV and streamline services. They pay to read novels or to go see a movie. They pay for gym memberships and the food they consume.
So, why should news be any different?
No media source is immune to the way technology has changed the game and disrupted our traditional news cycle.
Financial pressures have certainly impacted the print journalism industry, hence the importance of monetarily supporting original reporting.
As the print medium becomes more and more difficult to compete in, it is made worse when readers fail to find the value in paying for news.
When profit margins start falling, management may be faced with adapting a new business model, like enforcing social media paywalls, or to start sacking staff, particularly journalists. What would you prefer?
By purchasing a local newspaper, you’re funding journalism’s role in the community and are supporting the publication’s mission to keep people informed or accountable and to facilitate important discussions.
Regional newspapers are particularly important to their local communities as they write stories overlooked by the mainstream media.
Seeing your children in the social section, reading your local sporting match results, being updated on council projects and finding inspiration from the stories of our unsung heroes are all a special part of what brings a newspaper together.
However, the future of country papers will increasingly depend on consumers paying for news directly, as social media platforms like Facebook and content distributors like Google take the lion’s share of advertising dollars.
When you shop local by subscribing to our online edition or by purchasing a hard copy of our newspaper, you support our Bunyip family. And to our already loyal readers, we thank you for that.
While our medium will undoubtedly continue to change to stay relevant in this digital age, it’s certainly worth paying for.
Or will we pay the price of a society without local journalism?

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Sara Gilligan

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Sara Gilligan completed a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Writing and Creative Communication at the University of South Australia in 2014. Sara grew up in the Adelaide Hills before moving to Waikerie in 2015 to pursue her journalism career at The Bunyip’s sister paper The River News. She transitioned to Renmark’s Murray Pioneer newspaper in 2017, where she enjoyed Riverland reporting, before becoming The Bunyip’s editor in November 2019. She enjoys covering local government and police/emergency services and is passionate about giving locals a voice on community issues.

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