"Ready for dinner"
Let me be a Dutch uncle on the subject of subscribing to Premium and offer some frank advice, a reality check of sorts.
The greatest weakness of Internet users — all of us — is our failure to recognize the value of intellectual property. Of course we love free access to information — the more the better. For years, those of us who are information junkies have been like pigs in mud. It has been fun, but those something-for-nothing days are over. There is a difference between the Internet mantra that “information loves to be free” and free information.
The future of the Internet has arrived. The winnowing and weeding are occurring daily. While there will continue to be a lot of useless (or excess) information that will be free, intellectual property of value is going to cost money. It cannot be otherwise.
Salon is unique. There is no print equivalent at your local newsstand. Nor could there be given the constant updating capability of this medium. This publication is truly a salon — a place where assorted knowledgeable, if not frequently trendy, people from the arts, letters, politics, media and academy regularly gather to express views about an endless variety of timely topics.
This unique electronic assembly of contemporary thinking has added endless hours of provocative reading to our lives for many years now, for free. Remarkably, it has survived while others have disappeared. This is largely because of dedicated management and staff, people who have gone beyond the call to make it work. I know this because I occasionally write for Salon. These are not fast-buck entrepreneurs but, rather, journalists, writers, essayists, artists, engineers, thinkers and doers with a dream, a vision of how to infuse a new medium with the culture-sharing experiences of yesterday’s best drawing rooms. And it works.
It is time for all of us to pay for this intellectual effort. While I have no knowledge of Salon’s business beyond what is available in its public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it is obvious that this innovative and independent publication cannot survive without more revenue. By purchasing a subscription to Salon Premium you will help ensure the survival of Salon. That should be reason alone to subscribe.
While there are nifty additional benefits with a Premium subscription (I like the fact that I can download the text-only versions of an entire day of Salon, keeping what interests me and discarding the rest), the greatest benefit of signing up will be to express the same kind of approval for this entire undertaking as you do when you buy a newspaper or magazine, rent a film or purchase an album. So sign up and pay up. Let’s make sure these folks have the wherewithal to continue this endeavor.
John W. Dean served as counsel to President Nixon from 1970 to 1973. He now writes a column for Findlaw and is the author of several books, with the next to be published in January 2004, a biography of Warren G. Harding. .More John W. Dean.