I believe people will pay for quality journalism, especially if they can receive a refund for stories they don’t like. As a former newspaper reporter and editor for 20+ years, I hope ads do go away. They’re especially obtrusive and annoying online.
The reason I think people will pay for quality journalism is because they already do. I pay for subscriptions to the New Yorker and the New York Times, and I subscribe to The Sun and The Atlantic magazines, and all for about $10 a month. Very affordable. I also support a young writer on Patreon with a monthly stipend because I believe she has a future, but she needs a break (read: money) right now.
I’m glad to see what you’re doing, excited to see you looking past the single periodical with a paywall to a larger vision that brings all the best writers and mastheads together under one large but affordable tent. Godspeed to you!