The media landscape has changed and is still changing drastically.

But one element remains: real news costs money to produce because, quite simply, real journalists deserve to be paid.

There are three ways news is paid for: It's either by advertisers, the audience or, in the ABC's case, all of us - the taxpayers.

The Sunshine Coast Daily has always relied on readers and advertisers to pay for its newspapers.

It's an interesting combination.

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The relationship between a news outlet and an advertiser can often resemble a dance of tango. It's a partnership that includes a mutual understanding that both parties need each other but can offer plenty of passion and fireworks in between.

All good editors learn early in their careers how to perform this dance.

Their mission is always to pursue the truth, no matter what; never shy away from asking the tough questions; and lobby on behalf of the community.

And with that they create trust among their readership - trust that their voices are being heard and the stories are free of any interference from advertisers and the authorities.

All good advertisers understand that aligning their products with a trusted brand is invaluable and worth every cent they spend on it.

Online too the Daily has been charging its readers through subscriptions for at least the past three years.

The Sunshine Coast Daily subscriber Merv Grant speaks to editor, Nadja Fleet at the regional roadshow last year. Picture: Patrick Woods
The Sunshine Coast Daily subscriber Merv Grant speaks to editor, Nadja Fleet at the regional roadshow last year. Picture: Patrick Woods

The advertising revenue to be made in the digital world is nowhere near as lucrative as in print. And you can thank Google and Facebook for that.

Our sister publications and newspapers around the world, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have all decided subscriptions are the way to secure journalism's future.

And subscriptions have become the preferred model for many businesses outside the media industry too - Netflix, Spotify, Adobe, BMW, Hello Fresh and Naked Wines, the list goes on.

All have realised having a recurring income stream from its users allows them to reinvest in their services and grow.

It allows the Daily to employ 15 frontline journalists on the Coast - more than any other news outlet in the region.

And it allows us to put you, our reader, first.

When a digital news outlet, however, only relies on advertisers that aforementioned tango can quickly turn into a boring performance where one party leads the other with little benefit for the audience.

That product is likely to shy away from court reporting, even though the media is quintessential in ensuring our courts are transparent, because advertisers prefer a positive spin on the world.

That product is more likely to ensure a yarn never sees the light of day because it could put an advertiser into a dark spot.

And that product, especially when relying on handouts from the council or other authorities, is more likely to applaud than scrutinise them.

As it was said in the 2020 Netflix series The Social Dilemma which sounds the alarm on the dangerous human impact of social media: "If you are not paying for the product, you are the product."

With the Daily our number one customer has been, and always will be, you - our reader.



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