Hmm, you’re right that you need a unique take if you want to succeed with subscriptions or what not. Indeed, if you look at the type of creators and publications succeeding on Patreon, they tend to be ones laser focused on a certain subject with a very passionate fanbase willing to support a specific author.
You’re also right that if you don’t offer many articles for free, people are going to hesitate to pay you money for them. Randomly sticking a paywall in people’s faces the minute they land on your site is probably a bad idea.
But I also feel that unfortunately, it’s only going to be a fairly small percentage of publications and creators who’ll be able to do journalism as a sustainable business. The vast majority of publications out there just don’t offer anything people are going to pay for, and even those that do try something unique will often struggle to find people willing to support them for it. I know that last one from experience (both my own and in regards to others I feature on my underrated YouTube channels lists).