A quick Twitter break on Wednesday uncovered an issue I’m still thinking about today.
Earlier this week, Ira Flatow, host of NPR’s Science Friday, issued a statement that the program is having funding trouble. The news spread through a Huffington Post blog. Ira responded the next day reassuring listeners that the program is not “on the verge of going off the air.”
I am a big fan of this program, as are many of my science-interested friends. While I don’t agree with every story on the show, I like its overall impact. Listeners get excited about new science.
I spread the call to action through my social networks and stopped to donate, knowing that I would forget if I didn’t do it right away. Searching for “Science Friday” on Twitter today, I noticed that both science journalists and the general public carried the message through the Twitterverse for several days. Obviously people care about SciFri. But it’s easy to retweet a message. Did everyone put his money where his mouse is?
NPR listeners are used to regular pledge drives, so perhaps public radio is not the best analogy for the new media world. But still, it left me wondering. On the web, consumers are accustomed to getting content for free. Quality media is not cheap to produce and it can be difficult to make the numbers add up. I’ll admit I read the New York Times online for free, but I’d pay if they only offered online subscriptions. As consumers, what media are you willing to pay for?