The latest trend in the newspaper field is actually an old one: paying for what you read.
Newspaper companies have charged per-copy fees at newsstands or subscriptions for home delivery since the beginning. But with the splintering of the news media into ever-smaller slices of radio, cable and broadcast television, countless internet blogs and the rise of social media, readers have become accustomed to getting their news for free.
Of course, there’s no free ride in business or in life. Costs continue to rise and can only be cut so low, even as revenue from sales dwindles. So to stay in operation, news organizations are increasingly asking visitors to their websites to pay for the stories they access.
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you a small number of free reads before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to click on more stories.
You won’t find a pay wall here on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and (by God’s grace) forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It is not easy or cheap to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus teachings of the Catholic faith.
In 2017, this website presented 410 local news items, 128 local photo features (each offering more than a dozen photos), and 650 commentaries on issues from a Catholic perspective, 370 of which dealt specifically with Catholic spirituality. Add in more than a thousand national and 1,100 world news stories, dozens of columns and speeches by Archbishop Charles Chaput and scores of audio podcasts and videos, and the array of content you receive for free is remarkable for a five-person staff — without a full-time writer.
So how do we pay for it? Advertising revenue helps offset costs, but in the digital age, those funds are diminishing every year across the media landscape, for complex and varied reasons. An archdiocesan subsidy provides a just wage for our workers, a testament to Archbishop Chaput’s commitment to Catholic media even as the church’s finances are finding a firmer footing.
Major support for our work to reach more local Catholics with more news can only come from our readers. That is why I ask you to consider making a Lenten sacrifice to help us evangelize through this Catholic media.
The Word is active and alive in our world. You can help spread the Christian mission to “teach all nations” — including our own — by making a donation during CatholicPhilly.com’s fund drive.
Help us by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will come back as a benefit by informing and inspiring your neighbors, and strengthening the fabric of our entire Catholic community. Make your donation with a credit card or check — click here to learn how.
The mission of communicating the Catholic faith to readers like you and to young people coming up is worth your investment. We need your help, and I am grateful in advance for whatever support you can give to this mission.
The saving truth of the Gospel presented in this place and time is needed more than ever. You can join us in this journey of truth.
Matthew Gambino is the editor of CatholicPhilly.com.
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