Sarah Buitendach Editor: Wanted magazine
The New York Times building in New York. Picture: REUTERS
The New York Times building in New York. Picture: REUTERS

Every morning, I roll over in bed, grab my phone, check my horror show of an inbox, read a couple of morning mailers like this one, and then open the New York Times app. I do their Spelling Bee, and then read about all kinds of things I didn’t know I wanted to read but am glad I have.

Like this piece on why 100 years ago, black American singer Mamie Smith’s song Crazy Blues shook things up. Or about how Thailand’s students are taking on the military, borrowing from Harry Potter. Sometimes I even wade into their mostly critical commentary of Trump.

Whether or not you agree with their political stance, you’d be hard-pressed to find a news brand that’s more impressive — never mind a print product that’s migrated to online with such success. The digital subscribers are the proof. There are now more than 6-million of them. As with many media brands, their advertising revenue fell off a cliff when Covid-19 arrived, but those millions of paying customers sure helped to mitigate the fallout.

Interestingly, whilst the mass of us fans get our fix online for $0.47 per week, the New York Times still make the majority of its cash from print subscribers. All 840,000 of them. Read this piece from Harvard’s media-focused Nieman Lab for the deep dive into the current state of the NYT.

Print or digital, they are the proof that we’ll pay for quality and a simple, good experience. I have definitely drunk the New York Times Kool-aid. But, I also subscribe to a lot of other news outlets, and so here, is my very small precis of what else is on offer, worth paying for.

  • Of the other State-side offerings, The Wall Street Journal has a great summer deal on at the moment (€1 for two months and then it goes up to €10 a month after that). They’re doing some interesting journalism, like this story on Amazon taking over mall space in the US.
  • The Washington Post website is better than the app and the whole thing costs me $10 every few weeks. It’s a very US-centric, but interesting nevertheless.
  • Then, of course, there’s The New Yorker — which will set you back $50 a year. If you’ve ever subscribed to the iconic magazine, you’ll know that you’re committing to a whole lot of reading with that payment. I reckon you’re either the type who only reads it — or reads everything else. Not both. Who has the time?
  • Across the pond you can get full digital access to the Financial Times but it’s bloody expensive (US $1 for four weeks, then US $67 a month after that). That said, BusinessLIVE subscribers get a good lot of their content in that subscription and you can get their How to Spend It magazine free, on their own app here for Apple and here for Android.
  • The standard digital Telegraph subscription will set you back £25 for the first six months. They’re good on the commentary and fun stories and travel but their app really isn’t hot. There isn’t even search functionality.
  • The British Times and Sunday Times (a combo package) offer a more conservative take on things. Their online gig includes a free month of access and then it’s £10 a month after that. It’s a better experience than the Telegraph, definitely.
  • Then, the London Review of Books is the British equivalent of the New Yorker for sheer quantity. There’s a lot to be read, but it’s often excellent. You can currently only get a combined print and digital sub, which is £12 for 12 issues (they come out every two weeks) and thereafter it’s about £33 every quarter. In non-Covid times the paper version gets here easily by SA post and it is a delight to savour. But right now, you’ll have to rely on the app as SA’s postal system seems to have disappeared into a black hole. The app does the job, but it lacks the magical pretentiousness of the print edition.

Lest me not forget, if you haven’t already, you’ll also want to subscribe to the Financial Mail itself (R200/month for a print copy at home, plus full access to BusinessLIVE, or less for just a print copy). For those who’ve migrated to the digital product, download our FM app, from which you can download the full magazine, exactly as it appears in print.

And lastly, I do realise this roundup is primarily an Anglo/American take on global news so, if anyone has any great suggestions of other top class providers of the stuff, from elsewhere, that I should be reading, please let me know, along with your take on what it gives you.

*Buitendach is the FM's Life editor and editor of Wanted magazine.

This is a roundup of the best Covid-19 news from the web, brought to you in today’s FM lockdown newsletter. To subscribe, for free, click here.

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