Who is it really all about?
For several years I’ve read a blog that provides in-depth investigative reports I can’t get in the daily newspapers. I won’t name the blog, because that’s not the issue.
The issue is that they are running out of money.
Their annual budget is $125,000, which provides a modest income for the blog owner, money to host and update the blog, plus a budget to pay freelance reporters.
Here’s the gist of an email they sent me:
Subject: A final appeal from [Name of Blog]
Body: From Editor [Name of Editor]:
Our year-end fundraiser is down about 75 percent from last year, putting the survival of our unique journalistic operation in jeopardy.
We realize that times are tough – and there are many worthy causes – but [Name of Blog] has been there for the past 13 years providing serious investigative journalism for you, our readers.
Indeed, viewed as a whole, we have created an important ….
I’m a fan of this blog, but have trouble continuing to read. Why? Because they start off whining, then they talk about themselves and what’s important to them, rather than to me about what I find important. Here’s more:
So keeping this Web site alive is important… and there’s only so much more belt-tightening we can do. Already our little staff has absorbed one month of payless paydays. We also have had to cut the modest payments to our freelance writers.
If we have to close down, our journalistic narrative will die, too. [Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution.]
You get the idea. They go on to list (at far too great a length) the stories they’ve published and the credentials of the editor. They have, unfortunately, bored me. And that’s no way to bring in donations. I’m not sure if, off the top of my head, I have the solution for them. But how do you suppose I would have reacted if they had started off like this?
Subject: The final issue of [Name of Blog]?
Body: Will we publish next week? Frankly, I’m going to let you decide.
If you believe that the in-depth, investigative political stories we publish are a vital part of the information you receive about American politics, then send me an email and say YES. Or say no. I’ll abide by what the majority of you decide.
But let me tell you, to continue this blog – your blog – we need to raise $125,000. It’s not much, but we need it to stay alive, stay online and keep paying our independent, freelance reporters.
So if you vote yes, please say it with a pledge of $25 to help us reach our goal … or $10 if that’s all you can afford right now.
See you next week… or not. You decide.
I think I would have pledged something.