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How can you support a publication you like

When I shifted to my half completed (more on this some other time) flat in Gurgaon in 2016, I couldn't locate newspaper distributors for four or five months. Suddenly, from consuming four or five newspapers, I was completely dependent on digital media. I was going less directly to the news source (say, thehindu.com or livemint.com) but was getting my news from Facebook and Twitter, and from apps like Flipboard.

It became an experiment, as I was consuming interesting stuff but I was not necessarily getting informed. People whom I have met once or twice, or have never met are influencing what I was consuming via Facebook. If you're wondering why you often see posts by your most popular friends, that's the way Facebook algorithms work, unless you specify who's feed should come first. If Facebook promotes post of your not-so-popular friends, why would you read!

I searched hard to find a newspaper distributor and found one finally, after four or five months. So now I subscribe to four newspapers - Mint, The Hindu, The Economic Times and Indian Express. In addition, I used to have digital subscription of Business Standard (their payment gateway was not good, so left it).

Needless to say, the quality of stuff that I read has greatly improved. Everyday I will find at least three or four interesting news articles that informs or challenges me. Probably I am a digital immigrant, than a digital native.

Then I found something thanks to my friend, Anand Sankar. You might have liked your favourite newspaper in Facebook, but you would rarely see it in your feed. Facebook acts like a gatekeeper, and if the newspaper pays the social media giant for promoting to the people who have liked, then you will see those articles.

And, newspapers get maximum traffic from social media and home page has become less popular. Think of it: when was the last time you visited the homepage to explore what news articles are published.

The market for serious journalism is never big, and I feel if we really like one, we need to support them directly. So what can be done. Here are some things I would recommend:

1. Please subscribe to their products (newspaper or digital)
2. If you don't subscribe, please visit their websites directly and explore. I am sure you will find better articles than the ones shared by the superstars in your Facebook feed. I read the epaper of the ones I don't subscribe.
3. If your newspaper vendor doesn't supply the paper you ask for, keep asking for. When The Hindu's print edition was launched in Delhi, my news vendor wasn't aware. But I kept asking and he finally started delivering.

In short, please pay for the news products you like. Or, visit their site directly. 

And one final suggestion, please don't click on partisan websites. They don't deserve that, and by clicking on their articles (even though you don't like what is written), you're handing them money. 

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