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In the post I wrote yesterday previewing our drive, I explained the critical importance of diversifying the revenue streams we use to support the site. That's critical to the viability and health of this enterprise. But as a publication TPM has always been about the community that sustains it. Every site and probably most publications claim that. But often it's pablum. For us, it's true.
From the time I started TPM back in my junior one bedroom apartment in Washington DC almost fourteen years ago, the reason it took off so quickly and the reason I became addicted to running it (long before it made any career or financial sense to do so) was the community that immediately grew up around the site. At the first it was just a few dozen people and then a few hundreds reading. But right from the start it was my readers - now our readers - who pointed me to the overlooked stories, gave me quick primers on issues I was grappling to understand, often gave me critical news tips that I was able to combine with original reporting to break real news with a frequency totally out of proportion to the resources I had at my disposal.
A good bit of this has become part and parcel of how digital news journalism works. But a lot remains unique to TPM.
Over the years the whole enterprise has grown immensely. There are twenty five of us today. Two or three million people visit the site every month. And, depending on your definition, the core readership numbers in the tens or hundreds of thousands. But the relationship between the site and its core readers remains very, very similar. Our core readers - you, in all likelihood, if you've read this far - are people who value independent journalism. They share a certain overlapping set of values and outlook on the world but want it grounded in facts, empiricism. As much as anything people get plugged into TPM because they believe you can care passionately about the news and the world around us while also having a joy and fun in doing it.
That's who we are as an organization and a community. Prime is our way of leveraging our core audience to make TPM bigger and better, to build something that hasn't existed before. We want to give you a stake in journalism we think - and hope - you value, get you involved both in helping fund what we do but also helping shape the site's future.
We need you. And we hope you think you need us. So let's make it official. Join us.