Jonathan Richie BW.tif

“The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees, I want money.”

That’s the opening lyric from the Motown classic “Money (That’s What I Want)” by Barrett Strong in 1959. The song outlines that love from a significant other is great, but it does not pay the bills. Most of you may know The Beatles version released a few years later in 1963.

Money - we all want as much as possible, don’t want to waste it on useless things. If you’re like me you have very little of it except for payday which is the flashpoint of having it, then paying the bills and not having it anymore.

Why money? The major shopping season of the year is underway, and Americans are scrambling to find presents, stocking stuffers and other wild deals they need to take advantage of.

Recently the Knight Foundation and Gallup put together a study on local newsrooms titled, “Putting a Price Tag on Local News.” It tackles the hardest part of my job – getting people to pay for the paper.

A few of the takeaways from the report are: Americans take pride in their local newspapers, the public is largely unaware of the financial crisis facing local news and most Americans (86%) say everyone should have access to local news.

That last one sticks in my craw.

What does “have access to” mean? Does it mean they believe all my work should be given out for free? Or does it mean that they believe the paper just needs to exist at a fair and reasonable price?

Shameless plug: Subscribe to the Burnett County Sentinel today and get 52 weeks, including 18 publications and special sections for the low price of $30 if you live in the immediate area and just a few dollars more if you live outside the 584 and 580 zip codes. That will get you unlimited access to articles posted to our website,

About 20 years ago, I was enjoying myself in the third grade and a bunch of decisions were being made in the print media industry.

Some of those decisions included putting news articles and content on the Internet for free. The idea was that no one else had the resources of newspapers had at the time. Then came another scourge on the market: aggregating.

Aggregators collect news from other sites on the Internet and puts them in one place for readers to locate.

There are a lot of aggregators and they are everywhere. Do you want to find an aggregator? Go onto your Facebook feed and find a media company that does not put out any original material but instead share posts from others.

To combat aggregators print has had to install something that no reader likes but is fundamental to us keeping the lights on and printing a quality paper for you: a paywall. At some point, readers need to help pay for content that is generated locally.

The best way to do this is to buy a subscription to your favorite paper. It makes a great gift.

Stay engaged and support local journalism.