Letter: Reader writes in defense of paywall, local journalism

To the Editor-

I was ready to opine on another Facebook post complaining that an article from the Point/Plover Metro Wire was “behind a paywall,” but I quickly realized that I just had way too much to say. Ergo, an open letter instead.

The end of my story is that I support the Point/Plover Metro Wire. I consider the employees to be respectable people who promote journalistic endeavors in an environment that today is conducive to the entitlement philosophy that all news should be free to everyone all the time.

It is a fallacious argument to compare television to “print” journalism, yet the comparison is frequently made. Then there is the whole “biased reporting” controversy. As a journalism major, I was admonished to consider it was my responsibility to recognize gross generalizations and fallacious arguments through research and contemplative analysis.

Journalistic standards have changed, not because of malicious or subversive intent, rather because the news is driven by the consumers’ demands. To wit, consumers feel entitled to have news that favors their narrative. All else is labeled systematic emphasis that contravenes the standard of professional journalism and is arbitrarily dismissed.

If any one of 30 articles published by the Metro Wire appears slanted, it becomes a hoopla of exponential proportion. It should be obvious that the most recent change in the evolution of journalism is political polarization. Objectivity is subjective, if you can follow that nonsensical thought.

Modern journalism falls short of satisfying the masses because of the multiplicity of platforms. The supremacy of social media holds a power that subjects the journalist to a critique of every word, implying a lack of trust.

I, for one, think that our local journalists are overworked and underpaid, and I will gladly pay the 85.00/yr to see local news reported both in investigative and news reporting forms. I do chuckle when I tell people about local news that appeared in “real time” and they say they didn’t know anything about it, but they want details.

They, of course, would never pay for a subscription, but want me to forward or screenshot the article. Kind of the same thought process of the people who think that veterinarians are charging exorbitant fees, but that’s a whole other pet peeve of mine.

I do also enjoy the editorials, columns and open letters that are unique to this local news source. Those opinion pieces demonstrate the broader categories of journalism and sometimes abandon the constraints of objectivity while still presenting a cogent argument. Where, in any other local news sources are we afforded those opportunities?

I suspect there are fewer open letters now because of the “thin skins” (like me) who have a hard time with condescending and downright rude comments that tag people by name. Similarly, journalists probably feel the same ‘threat’ to their integrity. I know, “if you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen”….an idiom that oversimplifies.

I believe that the Metro Wire serves our community well. If you don’t see it that way, please consider that I am an old woman whose kids may read this and immediately call A PLACE FOR MOM. I try to read the Metro Wire with an appreciative mindset and consideration of journalistic styles.

I would pay twice the subscription fee to help them keep the lights on. My only complaint is that I can’t get my spouse to subscribe because I disseminate, ad nauseam, the detail of every story. If only I could insert a laughing emoji here.

Lois Precourt
Stevens Point