Journalism Wednesday is based on a simple premise: Let’s pay for the professional work that we read.

The original Journalism Wednesday was Wednesday, November 30, 2016. On that day, people were encouraged to pay for online access to a newspaper, buy a friend a subscription to a magazine, or donate money to a nonprofit which does investigative reporting.

Since then, the Journalism Wednesday concept has evolved to spotlighting excellent journalism through social media. By spotlighting such work, and through sharing pieces about the present and future of journalism, our hope is to keep drawing attention to the need to support the journalism we consume.

How many of us mass consumed articles online this year, especially during the heat of the election? And paid nothing, or nearly nothing, for any of it? And had ad blockers on the whole time as well? And yet the cable news channels, who trade largely in sensationalism, made money hand over fist. People get overwhelmed by non-stories, things that trend on Facebook about what some politician or another put on Twitter, while so many of the hard-working people whose careers are based on actually informing us about what’s really going on in the world are hanging on by a thread.

The events of recent years have demonstrated the importance of robust journalism. The need for indepth reporting, for investigative journalism, for the competent compilation of relevant and useful information, is as great as ever. And yet, every year, there are fewer and fewer reporters, as media entities small and large close shop.

We have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday. And now, we have Journalism Wednesday. Let’s pay for the online access to major news sources. Is there someone you know who seems impossible to buy for? Give the gift of a subscription to a monthly magazine which still does cutting-edge investigative reporting. Want to combine the sentiments of Giving Tuesday and Journalism Wednesday? Donate to one of the excellent nonprofit entities which does the kind of deep work that isn’t profitable enough for other outfits to do.

Journalism Wednesday isn’t some awesome, flashy name. But great journalism is seldom flashy either. And it deserves to be supported. These men and women – reporters, writers, editors, photographers, and everyone else who is a part of bringing real information to us – are hard-working professionals who deserve to be paid accordingly. They serve essential roles in a free, democratic society. The least we can do is actually pay for what we read.

Join all of us and commit to paying for something on Journalism Wednesday – and all year long. If you’re not sure what, then buy an online subscription for someone else, or consider picking something very local, like a subscription to the small-town weekly newspaper in the place where you grew up. Help keep journalism viable, at all levels.