Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dog Food

I looked over at the car next to me yesterday morning at Dunkin Donuts.

It brought to mind Bryan Sears, reporter for the Maryland Daily Record who has a dog named Sam. When people complain that his stories are behind a paywall, he gently reminds them that he needs to buy dog food for Sam. He has even coined a hashtag for it: #subscriptionsforSam .
I bit the bullet a while ago and started paying for online access to the Baltimore Sun and Howard County Times/Columbia Flier. Now that I have regular paycheck coming in again, the next step is a digital subscription to the Maryland Daily Record. As time goes on I see how much I need to know about what goes on in Annapolis and throughout the state in order to write this blog.
Think about how education advocates worked with the Howard Delegation during the last session to get bills passed for greater transparency. What about the County Executive's request that Sheriff Fitzgerald be impeached? It's not enough to read news created in the Bubble. Our issues reach beyond that.
If you want good journalism, you need to pay journalists. I write a blog as a hobby, one might say. I do the best I can with what I have and no one would confuse it with journalism. My profession is teaching. That's my field of expertise in which I have completed required education/training and have years of experience. I couldn't put in forty-plus hours a week without getting paid.
Neither can Bryan Sears, or Jason Whong, or the other good folks at the Maryland Daily Record. There's rent, or a mortgage to pay. There are groceries to buy, the baby's diapers, and of course dog food. Sam's dog food.

(Bryan and Sam hard at work.)

I'm finally ready to take that leap and be a responsible paying customer. You can, too. Click here to get the employee discount.
One last tidbit about Bryan. As a reporter for Patch he once kept a story going for thirty-six days because Baltimore County refused to give him the salary of a County employee without making him submit a written PIA request. He refused on principal. That's not what an MPIA is for.
Thirty-six days. That's an incredibly long time for a story to stretch on. His persistence paid off. His assertion that the salary information of county employees was a matter of public record was confirmed and he got the information he wanted.
Who was the County employee whose salary was being withheld? See for yourself.


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