Noting that we no longer need "a big company to distribute articles and programming," Ratcliffe offers an alternative to the ad-based model.
In the simplest scenario, then, what does an independent journalism supported by the users of information, as compared to being designed to support the producer-of-information’s advertisers, look like? How about this? Pay $1 a month or $12 a year to a reporter who has offered an online “contract” to deliver thorough coverage of a topic. They might ask for more, but they’d have to sell the idea, just as they do in editorial meetings today. In exchange, you’ll get alerts about new articles and comments by the writer through email, Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed or SMS. Another feature would be a social page of your own, where your input to the feed is available, delivered to the reporter for their thoughts, and your own feeds to share with friends. The reporter benefits from these re-feeds by supporters as a form of marketing for their work.