Subscribe to the New York Times for $1 a week.
You don’t have to read any of this. You just need to follow this link to subscribe for $1 a week for a year to the New York Times: https://nytimes.com/share/VQrAiRu This works on your smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer. You can thank me later. Here is why Daytonian’s (and others) should subscribe.
Why you should subscribe to the NY TImes
There is no such thing as fake news. There is news and opinion. Since the beginning of journalism, there has always been a healthy mix of both. If there is one, unforgivable left-over of the four years of Trump the Terrible, it was the attack on our intelligence, suggesting that facts weren’t, science is dumb, and that any bozo (including me) can create crap on the Internet and it’s believable. If you need any proof, just look at my last post, on April Fools day, FBI announces next round of indictments in Dayton, suggesting that the FBI would actually do their job and arrest some white people in their “Culture of Corruption” farce of an investigation.
The only reason my April Fools joke worked, is because over the last 16 years and 3,025 posts, I’ve built a reputation for being honest, open and shared insightful analysis of Dayton politics- and signed my name to it. I’m the son of a journalist, and while I didn’t choose journalism as my profession, I have a deep respect for it, and know the power it has to shape our community. Unfortunately, Dayton has a real void in journalistic integrity and capacity. It comes from a combination of factors- including absentee ownership and severe lack of ability to recognize true journalistic talent. The saying goes, “A” people, hire “A” people, “B” people hire “C” people (widely attributed to Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer). The Dayton news establishment at one time was dominated by Cox, which owned the main newspaper, the CBS TV affiliate and the strongest FM and AM radio signals in the region.The ability to do this was “grandfathered” by the Federal Government, because the feds knew that with great power came great responsibility, and local media should never be in the hands of a single entity. As the industry struggles, these rules persist because of the very danger to our democracy for good reason.
Somehow, sometime, the Cox family made the decision to get in bed with the local power brokers- even allowing the local publisher to serve on boards like the “Dayton Development Coalition” – a quasi-governmental slush fund of lobbyists who believe the secret to our success starts and ends at the tit of Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the Department of Defense. They would endorse who the political parties endorsed. The editorial page editor was married to a Democratic party hack. There was no room for outside voices. No square pegs for their round holes. And as long as the ad revenue poured in, who cared. Now, the “paper,” and I call it that instead of a newspaper, is no longer printed locally. It’s run by a skeleton staff, with limited institutional knowledge left (they’ve been buying out and retiring the talent at a record pace). Since they never have been able to truly recognize and attract talent, what they produce is generally a publication of day old news, centered around car crashes, fires, and the occasional local police misconduct. Financially, the “news” is just filler, wrapped around their bread and butter; legal notices and government required classifieds, with a smattering of quarter page ads for hearing aids, hospitals, utility companies and governmental entities like the VA and the Montgomery County Veteran’s Service Center (which has no clue on how to do marketing to veterans- just money that needs to be spent).
Their should be no one actually reading news in print form anymore. Any newsroom wasting time laying out physical pages and static photos, to be printed on dead trees, using petrochemicals to mark the paper, and then to ship it, and deliver it to your house, needs to be drawn, quartered, tarred and feathered and shot. Especially with their decline in physical readership and advertisers demands of targeted, measurable, trackable ads that are individually focused. It would be far cheaper to hand out internet connected tablets to every subscriber with a years subscription, than to keep doing a dead tree edition. It also would provide real metrics on what stories work and which don’t.
The New York Times figured this out long ago, although their advertising integration has been labored and poor. They still produce a print edition, however, they still sell enough papers in NY City to support it- and, they didn’t shoot themselves in the foot by outsourcing the printing to an outsider that has a 6pm the day before deadline- forcing yesterdays news into every mornings delivery like the Dayton Daily newsless does.
Everyday I read the NY Times first in the morning, on my iPad. I can skim the stories, broken down into useful categories, and choose to click into stories based on a brief excerpt. The only thing I wish they’d do is include either a story length indicator, or a choice of versions, for days when my time is limited. I can easily increase the size of the type, I can look up any words or search anything easily. I can share stories to social media or friends. Granted, the content is behind a paywall, so if they don’t pay for a subscription (see link above), they can only read a limited number of stories per month. At a $1 a week, it’s well worth it. At $4.25 a week, the normal price- it’s STILL WORTH IT.
Because, being ignorant isn’t an attractive quality. Ever.
Why you should subscribe to a local paper too (even if it sucks)
After I’m done reading the NY Times, which takes me about an hour, I click over to the Dayton Daily news “epaper” which is a broken and horrible way to present news. And, in less than 15 minutes I’m done. Most of the paper is stories I’ve already read the day before in the NY Times. The local stuff is limited- with about half of it being repurposed press releases from former employees working for hospitals and local governments. There is very little true reporting, and even less journalistic integrity. Case in point, you read here first about former Huber Heights Mayor Tom McMasters filing suit in Montgomery County Common Pleas court two days after he filed. I helped Tom put his thoughts in order for several days before he filed, so I knew I’d have a scoop- because there is no real courts reporter at the Dayton Day Old. So I gave them a chance to write it, before I published- and then, even goaded them to give the standard credit. Nope. Two days after I published, they did- with no mention of Esrati.com breaking the story as any real news organization would.
While I believe that it’s important to support local journalism, and pay $10 a month for the Dayton Day-old news, it saddens me that this is the best our community can do. It’s why I spend my time trying to help you understand what really is going on in Dayton, as best I can, without revenue from ads, and very few donations. If you want to help, without parting with cash, you could subscribe to my youtube channel, which needs 1000 subscribers before I can monetize it (I’m at 697 today).
There is a reason for journalism. When done right, it holds our government, business and even our citizens, accountable for their actions. It’s not always a professional reporter that makes us aware of injustice anymore. Some of it is just a young lady with her cell phone, going to the store with her kid sister, when she spots a bad cop killing a man with a knee to the neck.
She was the teenager whose video of George Floyd’s final moments rippled across the globe. And in a courtroom on Tuesday, Darnella Frazier, now 18, shared her story publicly for the first time, testifying that she remained haunted by Mr. Floyd’s cries for help as she watched a police officer kneel on his neck.
Ms. Frazier, at times crying, spoke softly during emotional testimony on the second day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer facing murder charges. As her voice cracked, Ms. Frazier described how what she witnessed that day last May had changed her life. She sometimes lies awake at night, she said, “apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life.”
You can break a story of global relevance with your cell phone, but, the follow up, the digging, the filling in the blanks, takes real journalists, and by subscribing to the NY Times, you’ll be privy to some of the best the field has to offer.