Perhaps helpful to apply Clay Christensen's 'Jobs to be Done' theory to journalism when you're trying to ascertain the value people place on it. What do we hire journalism 'bundles' to do for us? By way of comparison, what do we hire a Disney+ subscription to do?
Journalism is more likely to be 'hired' by us when it helps us make better everyday decisions by making us more informed about the things salient to our lives. How can I better provide for my kids? What is the best value iteration of product X that I should buy to make my home more comfortable? How can I avoid getting ill? What should I eat for dinner? It's why the NYT leans into its cooking apps, or why they bought The Wirecutter.
They then drive revenue that can hopefully support the capital J journalism from the NYT that may, in a more macro/abstract way, improve my life by buttressing democracy or exposing wrongdoing - all of which is included in the bundle.
Sure, I need to know whom to vote for to further my vision for the future, and I feel I should know who is being prosecuted for what but that is a broader concept than is likely to affect my decision to keep or drop a monthly subscription when I'm consider my household costs, and I'm not likely to buy it in isolation.
Frustratingly, that capital-J journalism is most often what journalists point to as what people SHOULD pay for - but the reality is they won't - at least, not often at a meaningful, sustainable scale. The adage that the Baghdad bureau never paid for itself is as true as it ever was. Consumers pay to be entertained, and they pay for good, actionable advice to address their needs and desires.
I often think of this line in a Guardian piece 'News is bad for you' published in 2013: (https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli) "Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business.".