Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How I deal with the WaPo paywall

I noticed shortly after the Washington Post put up its paywall that allowed visitors to read 20 articles per month for free before it blocked access, that I could get another 20 articles if I just switched browsers. The number of free articles is down to 7/month last time I saw anyone give an actual number. But lately it feels like it might only be 2 or 3. I run through my freebies really fast.

Should I just break down and pay for a digital subscription? I haven't yet. Instead I cycle through all the browsers I have to read the article, sometimes saving the url so I can read it later when I get to another machine. Each of my home computers have 4 browsers installed, and my work computer has 2. My iPhone and iPad each have three (Safari, Chrome, and Opera), plus effectively two more for if I click to a WaPo link through the Facebook or Twitter app. That's a lot of possible articles. But I must read a lot of WaPo pieces (it doesn't help that the posts in the Plum Line, Wonkblog, and Weigel, each of which is on my blogroll, count against the paywall totals) because I still run out of browsers all the time (luckily, the month is a rolling month not a calendar month. So each browser comes back online at different times as its specific month rolls by). Most of the time, I can manage to read whatever I want to read, but it is a lot of work and I'm getting tired of it.

I like the WaPo, don't get me wrong. But I like a lot of news sources and I already pay for a NYT subscription. I am also dealing with the paywall rules for Foreign Affairs(FA has a stingy 1 free/month rule!), Foreign Policy, the New Yorker, and several others, and I just don't want to pay hundreds of extra dollars per month to subscribe to everything. I'm just not sure if I should break down and pay for one more subscription or if that is the slippery slope to something more expensive.

Plus, let's face it, I often read these articles to procrastinate. Do I really want to pay money to encourage procrastination? Or will paying shorten my procrastination time because I will waste less time working my way around the paywall?