Thank You, Folks

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As I’ve told you a number of times over the last three weeks, we launched this year’s Annual TPM Membership Drive with an ambitious goal of signing up 1,000 new members. Today, a bit before noon, we hit our goal. It was even ahead of schedule. We truly appreciate it. We appreciate our members and especially those thousand new members. It’s a very important milestone for the company’s finances. But it is also a big shot in the arm for our whole team. Because this doesn’t happen by accident. We’re a small operation. And this is the product of every member of our team from editors and reporters to techs and designers and producers and publishing staff operating at their peak and operating as a very integrated and collaborative team. I really could not be prouder of every one of them.

Before I share a few other thoughts, two points: First, the drive was scheduled to run through the 15th. Since we’ve hit our goal I’m not going to be pushing you to sign up anymore in the Editors’ Blog. But the 40% discount we’ve been offering will continue to apply through the 15th.

One nice and important thing about the drive this year is that we signed up more people than last year and we did it more quickly. There are likely a few causes behind that but a couple big ones are the number of big exclusives and consistent and unique coverage of important issues we’ve done this year. People subscribe to publications for many reasons. One is that they just like what they’re reading. They want access to a thing they may not otherwise have access to. But that’s not the only reason. They also want to know the publication they like is in the game, is pushing big stories forward, getting people’s attention, adding to the total sum of knowledge about the political world and doing it with some punch. People want to be on a team like that. They want to support a team like that. Our editors and reporters have done a great job on that front over the last year. And it’s shown in many ways, including in this drive.

As part of that we’ve made a judgment that we will invest more time, deep reporting and hunting, in somewhat fewer stories. That’s a tough decision to make. It’s probably harder for me than for almost anyone on staff because I built the organization in a very different internet era when speed was huge. It was a pre-social media age, among other things. And don’t get me wrong. We still want to and will be all over the big news just as soon as it gets newsing. But again, fewer of the quick pieces that probably aren’t dramatically different than what you could see elsewhere and some more focus on those pieces that you’re only going to read it TPM. I’ll stop there because otherwise I may talk myself out of it. But you get the idea.

Another big factor is our focus on newsletters like the Morning Memo, The Backchannel, The Weekender, and a kind of newsletter-in-the-making in Where Things Stand. One thing is that most of us are now getting more of our news from email these days. But each of these offerings is meant to address a particular news need — not just something that’s interesting to read but something that comes out at a specific point in the news cycle and addresses a specific news need at that time of the day or week. These have also played a very important role for us over the last year.

The final point is that you see what we publish but there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that happens at the site that if we’re lucky and it’s done really well just seems obvious. That’s the work of our designers and techs and publishing staff. Who gets the visuals and design looking just right so they complement the articles? Who makes sure the membership system, the card payments and the access and all the rest works smoothly? Who produces the podcast? How quickly and efficiently can we handle the inevitable problems that come up when you have almost 32,000 paying members? Then there’s one right there in plain sight: Who runs the drive? We’ve gotten better at all of these things over the last year. So big thanks to our whole team. As we’ve discussed at various times, while this is still a very, very challenging environment and very challenging for us, we are stable, viable and we believe we will net add new members over the course of this year. So thanks to them and thanks to you.

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