I am not telling you anything you don't know, but the media is a strange and shifting place. Being a freelancer in the middle of it is an uncertain and slightly terrifying existence. I keep on writing because I happen to think I'm pretty good at it, and that it's a worthwhile career to pursue, but I can't say whether I'll still be doing this in a year, two years, five years. As much as you might do it for the love, money is, sadly, a necessity round these parts, and if there's no money to be made writing, a lot less writing is going to happen.
As a writer, my past, present and future are all bound up heavily in brave, supercool independent media, that have given me a break, given me an outlet, given me an audience and given me a little bit of cash to reward my efforts too. They've been bold to do this, and I'm eternally grateful to anyone who's published me.
But these outlets are just like the mainstream behemoths: they need people to be willing to pay for good content. There's free stuff all over the internet of course, but if we want a world where there are talented people with the time and inclination to really throw themselves into their work, we need to stump up some dollars to give them that chance, and make sure a thousand flowers can bloom in the media desert.
So. With that in mind, here are a few places you could sling a few bucks to - if you're not already - to help them stay afloat and make a go of things. All of these are great organisations that I've written for, will write for in future, and recommend highly.
First New Matilda. This was the first place to publish me at all, when I was, in the most literal and extreme sense, an unknown. They took a chance and I owe them forever for that. They brought my political writing into the world. But beyond me, they have loads of brilliant content, like Ben Eltham's work, stuff about Israel, asylum seekers, the environment and much much more, from an array of talented writers who provide genuinely alternative viewpoints to the mainstream. They run on a shoestring and do it with style and substance, and without paywalling. They rely on the generosity of their readers - why not be generous?
The King's Tribune. Subscribing to the KT not only gets you access to the full extent of their spectacular line-up - and it is spectacular, featuring not just me, but geniuses like Helen Razer, Jo Thornely, Greg Jericho, Tim Dunlop, John Birmingham and many more, plus awesome interviews and features - but also it gets you an actual paper magazine. Can you believe that? In these days of digital chicanery, MySpace etc, the Tribune has shown faith in the beauty of the printed word, while also spawning a snazzy-as website. It takes some balls to push that boat out, and it's resulted in a real high class mag that entertains and enlightens AT THE SAME TIME. Subscribing to the Tribune will be money well-spent, but what will also be money well-spent will be donations to the magazine's indiegogo. After an incredible amount of hard work, the KT is on the verge of making it as a real going concern - it can keep operating. But the proprietor has accumulated debts that need to be repaid if that's to happen, so the fundraising is on, and anything you can spare will be greatly appreciated to help keep alive the brilliant magazine that you'll be subscribing to! The indiegogo site goes into more depth about just what the funds are being raised for, and includes a video which features Helen Razer, played by me.
Lastly, Bide magazine, a brand-new quarterly digital magazine of society, culture, politics, and basically the entire scope of human existence. It is a sophisticated little corner of the web for lovers of reading to lose themselves in, and it's run by my friend and well-known genius Anna Spargo-Ryan. For an annual subscription you pay $10 which is OBSCENELY cheap, and if you help it thrive, I shall be privileged to keep contributing certain whimsies to it.
Of course there are heaps more than these, worthy of support, but these are three that I'm involved in that, if you like what I do, I think you'll find are worth keeping afloat. Sometimes it can seem that the media is asking a lot, when you can get so much content without paying, but really, subscribing to any of these outlets is actually pretty damn cheap - it's just a different payment model than slapping a few bucks down at the newsagent. And all of them will provide entertainment, information, discussion, debate and perspectives you might not have seen before. If you want smart people to keep giving you the benefit of their smartness, you have to play your part. I, and my colleagues, depend on you. Do give it some thought.
(oh and buy tickets to my show too)