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Columbia Missourian

DEAR READER: Why membership makes a difference

By Tom Warhover
August 27, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Dear Reader,

Look at the Missourian’s marketing for the new digital suite and you’ll see a call to join. To become a member. To buy a membership. None of the ads ask you to subscribe.

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What’s in a word? The differences may be subtle. To me, they are meaningful.

A subscription implies a continuing exchange of goods, in this case the Columbia Missourian you’ve always received: your morning newspaper, regardless of whether it’s on newsprint or on your computer.

A membership suggests you have a stake in the success of the organization.

Every advertiser or anyone who has ever renewed a yearly subscription has given back to this not-for-profit publication.

Many readers of the Columbia Missourian have given of their time, expertise and experience. The Readers Board is a fine example: Each month, board members gather to give the staff feedback on the work that’s done. They get some nice snacks; they give so much more.

Other readers, many of them with official titles, give just a little more time and patience as they are interviewed or photographed by extremely smart but inexperienced student-journalists. Some readers give by pointing out mistakes through Show Me the Errors or by making submissions to our From Readers section.

They have helped make the Columbia Missourian what it is: an award-winning publication that also trains the next generation of journalists across the world.

Paid membership helps the Missourian move into the next iterations of journalism.

Membership should also give you more access.

So members receive access to the Missourian’s archives. They receive continuous access to special sections and e-books such as “Road Trip SEC,” a massive project that was more than four months in the making. They will receive technical updates for the phones or tablets they use. They’ll receive new features as they are rolled out.

There’s no single solution to the disassembling of a centuries-old model of advertising carrying a disproportionate load of the cost to gather and distribute information. Neither subscriptions nor memberships will pay all the bills for a newspaper. But your membership is an increasingly crucial component.

Tom

P.S. To register as a member, click here.