Let me get straight to the point: we’re in the middle of The Wild Hunt’s Fall fundraising drive. I’ve supported The Wild Hunt every year since they first moved from a one-person operation, and I’m supporting them again this year. I encourage you to do so as well, at whatever level you can afford.
The newspaper of record for the Pagan community
If you want to read Pagan opinion, there are many places you can go. There’s Patheos Pagan, Pagan Bloggers, Witches & Pagans, and dozens of independent Pagan blogs. Some offer religious teaching, some offer spiritual inspiration, some offer political opinion, and some offer history and lore. Some – like Under the Ancient Oaks – offer all of the above.
If you want to read Pagan news, there’s only one source: The Wild Hunt. Bloggers like me occasionally make announcements and write about events we attend. Witches & Pagans does news recaps with links to stories on other sites. Only The Wild Hunt does their own original reporting and news analysis from a Pagan viewpoint, and does it on a regular basis.
This is important. While Pagans have made some progress toward mainstream inclusion, the only times we see Pagans mentioned in the mainstream media is when some “self-proclaimed” witch or Druid or Heathen (the term “self-proclaimed” should be banned from media forever and ever) does something horrible. Occasionally we still see “meet the Pagans” fluff pieces, particularly in October. The odds on a mainstream newspaper or TV station professionally and respectfully covering a Pagan event the way they cover Baptists, Catholics, or even Unitarian Universalists are incredibly long.
We need a Pagan news source that covers Pagan events and issues from a Pagan point of view. Fortunately, we have that news source: The Wild Hunt. They post Pagan news and analysis seven days a week.
No one else does what they do – we need The Wild Hunt.
Websites cost money and writers deserve to be paid
I shouldn’t need to say this, but there are some very immature and flat-out wrong ideas about money in the Pagan community.
Nobody hosts websites for free. Yes, you can set up a free blog on Blogger or WordPress, but if you want any sort of customization you need a paid site. If your traffic grows, you encounter higher bandwidth charges. And of course, someone has to design, set up, and maintain the site.
Writing is work, and workers deserve to be paid. There are three ways to pay writers. One is the ad model, like Patheos uses. A lot of people don’t like ads. I think the ads here on Patheos are a lot less obnoxious since the site redesign back in August, but they’re still here. Another way is the subscription model – set up a paywall and hide the content from everyone but paid subscribers. It’s hard to build an audience when you force people to pay up front… as the mainstream newspapers are finding out.
The third way is crowdfunding – the NPR model. This makes the content free to all, but asks those who find value in it to contribute toward its support. This is the way most churches and other religious organizations fund their operations. It counts on those who can pay more to pay more, and those who can pay something to pay what they can.Unlike NPR, The Wild Hunt doesn’t interrupt programming every couple of months for a pledge drive. They do an annual funding campaign, set their budget based off what’s pledged, and keep right on reporting the whole while.
Nobody’s making a living writing for The Wild Hunt – I wish they were. But at least the writers are paid something for the time and effort that goes into providing the Pagan community with our own news source.
If you always agree with a news source, something’s wrong
I don’t always agree with The Wild Hunt. I wish they did more event-based news, even if it’s just coverage of somebody’s Pagan Pride Day. I wish they’d get rid of the Friday and Saturday long essays, even though as a blogger I know Friday and Saturday are low-traffic days anyway. And I don’t always agree with the political viewpoints expressed in both opinion and news pieces.
That’s OK. I know several of The Wild Hunt’s writers – every single one of them is doing their best to be a professional journalist.
There’s an increasingly prevalent idea that since truly objective reporting isn’t possible (everyone has biases, even if only in choosing what to cover or not to cover) news sources shouldn’t even try. Declare your side and preach to your choir – Fox News on one side, MSNBC on the other.
I disagree. Even if you can’t be perfectly objective, it’s important to try. It’s helpful to try. When news writers try to be objective and when they try to cover all sides of an issue, they do a better job of presenting the whole situation so I can assess it for myself.
I don’t want any news source telling me what to think. I want them to tell me what’s going on so I can figure out what I think on my own. If that means occasionally giving publicity to someone who espouses viewpoints I find offensive, so be it.
If you’re hesitant to contribute to The Wild Hunt because they published something you didn’t like, I encourage you to think again. They’re doing a job that needs to be done.
Please support free and independent Pagan news
The Pagan community needs our own news source. We need a professional news organization covering the events and issues that are of critical interest to us but that aren’t even a blip on the radar of the mainstream media.
We have that source – The Wild Hunt. But in order to keep it, we have to support it.
Whether you make a monthly pledge or a one-time donation, I encourage you to support The Wild Hunt.