Why are we asking loyal readers of The Local to become paying Members? In the time-honoured tradition of The Local, co-founder James Savage gives ten reasons.
After a decade of being completely free, we are asking loyal readers of The Local to become paying Members. But why are we doing this? In the time-honoured tradition of The Local, co-founder James Savage gives ten reasons.
1. Because good journalism needs resources
You might have noticed that The Local is not the only publication asking for readers to become Members, or to buy online subscriptions. Publications from the New York Times to small local newspapers in Germany are asking their readers to pay, because employing journalists and all the other staff it takes to run a paper or news website is expensive. We only ever employ professional, bilingual journalists, who understand Germany well – and naturally we pay them competitive salaries.
2. Because you'll help the world get a fair picture of Germany
A participant at this year's Karneval in Osnabrück dressed as Superman. Or possibly as the President of the United States. Photo: DPA.
By helping The Local maintain and expand its journalism, you will also have an impact on the way Germany is perceived internationally.
We know from experience that what we write in The Local influences the perception of Germany in media around the world.
The refugee crisis has led to Germany being used as a political pawn by politicians across the world, but how is the country really coping? We put all sides of the argument, and make sure that facts win through.
3. Because advertising revenues are fickle
You'll notice that many brilliant brands advertise with us, and we're proud that they choose The Local to help build their businesses. But here's the thing: what the 14 years of running The Local have taught us is that the world of advertising is a fickle beast. It's sensitive to downturns in the economy and changes in technology, and the big platforms like Facebook and Google are taking an ever bigger chunk of the cake. To be confident that we can provide the depth and level of insight that German news deserves, we need to earn money from other sources too.
4. Because if you're paying, we work for you
As journalists, we are driven by giving you, our readers, the information that really matters. But we're also a business, and like any business we have to take account of the views of the people who pay our salaries. Join us as a Member, and you will be helping to pay our salaries. That means we can create The Local that you want to read.
5. Because foreigners in Germany deserve a voice
The Local isn't just here to explain Germany to our readers, we're also here to represent our readers' interests in Germany. We can do that because The Local is overwhelmingly staffed by foreigners – from places including Britain, Canada, India, Ukraine and Australia – so The Local's staff mirror our readers.
Ania Seroka, a Polish resident of Berlin, who spoke to us about why foreigners in Germany should get a vote.
So on the question of votes for foreigners, or how living abroad affects your mental health, the paperwork involved in getting German citizenship or the collapse of Air Berlin, we make sure your voices are heard.
6. Because if you live here, there's no substitute for staying connected
When you get off the plane and start a demanding job in Germany, or if you're juggling kids and your career, learning German might have to wait (though we'll help you with that too). But there's no substitute for knowing what's going on in your adopted country – it helps you chat with your colleagues and sound erudite for your friends at home. And it helps you stay one step ahead of your kids!
7. Because you'll get to hang out with some fabulous people
If you're a Member of The Local, we'll invite you to our events, starting in Berlin. It will be a chance to hang out with some fabulous people – that is to say, your fellow Members (The Local's staff will be there too). In the future we'll bring in speakers to give you some food for thought, and we'll live stream this for Members who can't be there. If there's demand, we'd love to organize events in other parts of Germany too.
8. Because we'll help you with your career
We know that lots of people find work on The Local's job board. But we'll do more than that to help you in your professional life – we'll bring you advice on everything from the state of the German job market to how to plan your pension.
9. Because it costs less than a cup of coffee a week
Five euros a month is all it costs. We also have some great introductory offers so you can try out Membership first at a reduced price.
10. Bonus: Because it will give you insights into other countries too
You might be aware that The Local is also present in many other European countries, including France, Switzerland and Sweden. When you become a Member here, you will automatically become a Member there too, at no extra cost. Discover what's happening in those countries, and get invited to events in places like Paris and Stockholm!