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Bloomberg has already established the market price of accurate independent journalism:

https://qz.com/84961/this-is-how-much-a-bloomberg-terminal-c... ($24K per year per head)

Not holding my breath on micropayments...

This is quite obviously not generalizable. Bloomberg provides financial data, which is at a much more valuable point of the funnel in direct monetary terms to the purchaser.

The sad fact is that real journalism doesn't provide that much value directly to the purchaser: much of the value of an informed citizen accrues as a positive externality to the rest of society. The latter by definition doesn't affect willingness-to-pay, however, so newspapers in general have had to rely on their customers' willingness to pay coming from a vague need to sound informed in front of their friends. This is obviously a lot less sensitive to the _quality_ of journalism, so you end up with a situation where there's no real channel for providing quality journalism to the average person.

Even back in the day when they were still getting paid, the overall quality of mainstream media content was almost as bad as it is today.

Even back then, they were still businesses. Their customers were still the advertisers, not the subscribers. If there was dirt to dig up on a politician, they'd probably cover it. If there was dirt to air on the local car dealership, grocery store, or real estate brokerage--silence!

To be an actual public service, the agency relationship has to be right. It was never right for the mainstream media. Bloomberg terminals do have it right (I'm the customer, not the product), but expensive!

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