Please Stop and Read This (Seriously)

In which I write with humor and profundity about how I really need you to sign up and become a member. (No, seriously.)

Okay, enough warnings and preparation. Today we launch our annual TPM membership drive. Even if you are a member, I would greatly appreciate if you would give this a read. It’s really important. If you’re not a member or if you’re a lapsed member, would you consider making today the day you join us? A basic Prime membership is really cheap. Just $5.99 a month and a bit less if you sign up for an annual membership. You’ll barely miss that cash and in exchange you’ll get access to everything we publish, a cleaner and less cluttered reading experience and a lot more. But at least as important is that your membership fee — along with those of over 33,000 other TPM members — make this operation possible and sustainable. This isn’t just chatter and words. We’re not owned by a big corporation or funded by some foundation. It’s not one revenue source. The overwhelming percentage of the funding that pays for the salaries, health insurance, rent, web hosting and everything else comes from those membership fees. (Like over 80%.) And we really need a chunk more of the people who regularly visit the site to become members. It’s really important. Are you convinced? Just click right here to sign up.

Over the coming days, along with bringing you the latest on the big land war in Europe, the hopefully subsiding global pandemic and the struggle to preserve democracy in the United States, I’m going to be telling you some of our plans for the near and long term here at TPM, how we plan to expand and deepen the way we bring you the news every day. For members and non-members alike, I hope you’ll join me for that discussion.

For now, I have an ask of members too. Why do you read TPM? And more specifically, what do you get from TPM that you don’t get from other news sources? This might sound like we’re fishing for compliments. And in a way we are. I’m asking Readers and Members to write in with their answer to these questions and I hope to publish some of them as part of our pitch for others to join. But it’s not only that. It’s also audience research. This drive is also combined with a number of projects and efforts this year to improve and evolve the site. (There’s no standing still in digital news. You’re either busy being born or busy dying.) And to do that we need to be in constant dialogue with our Readers. We do that in a lot of ways every day. But here I want to do it in a focused and concentrated way.

As a digital native news organization, we’ve always approached what we do and viewed ourselves as a news operation that is part of an ecosystem of sources where you get your news. This isn’t just humility (yes, they probably do go to other news websites sometimes…) It’s a way of thinking about the practice of journalism as one that is in relationship to other news organizations that operate in different ways, with different perspectives, with more long or short term focuses. So as we figure out how to evolve in response to the ever-evolving news environment, it’s critical that we understand where we fit into the mix for our current Readers.

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So, that’s our to do list for today. Not a member? Seriously, can you sign up today? You’ll make about twenty of us really happy and at least one of us a bit relieved. If you are a member, can you drop me a line answering those two questions above? Just send it to talk at talkingpointsmemo dot com with the subject line “Why TPM?”

And thank you. Thank you from all of us.

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