When well done, membership can be fantastically impactful. But it can also be incredibly resource-intensive and can’t be turned on and off like a campaign. Fundraising and marketing are difficult: with few exceptions, news consumers are habituated to not paying for access to digital news. Access to news is often subsidized—by advertisers, platforms, private funders, and reporters themselves—in ways readers often don’t realize.

“There are no get-sustainable-quick schemes,” News Revenue Hub’s CTO Tristan Loper said recently. And no news subsidy system is perfect. (The Membership Puzzle Project)