I’m excited to announce a new program here at TPM, one I’ve been working on for the last couple months. It’s called the Future Is Now program and it will allow us to share our journalism with a new generation of readers and turbocharge our independent journalism in the newly dawning era in which it will be more important and needed than ever.
Here’s how it works.
TPM has always had “credit subscriptions” which we sell for TPM Prime. Readers buy these credits and we make them available to other readers with limited financial resources. It’s all anonymous on both sides. It’s a win-win for all involved. Now we’re doing something new and more ambitious. We’re selling credit subscriptions in bulk for the specific purpose of distributing them to enrolled students. If you’re in high school or college or if you’re an enrolled part-time student you can now get a free subscription to TPM Prime.
(The regular program for readers with financial need will continue just as it always has.)
The revenue we get from these Future is Now program purchases all goes to new original reporting capacity, with an emphasis on investigative reporting. Now, this doesn’t just mean that we won’t take the money and buy fancy clothes or a vacation to Bora Bora. It’s more specific. There are lots of things a publication has to spend money on beyond reporting: rent, tech costs, publishing staff, tech staff, sales staff, utilities etc. Believe me, more things than you can imagine. These are all critical to making TPM run. But the money we take in from the Future is Now program will go exclusively to new reporting capacity.
As I said, I’ve been working on this for a couple months. After the November election, we had a number of readers write in to say some version of: ‘I’m already a Prime subscriber. But I’d like to do more to support what you do. How do I do that?’
I had a number of discussions and my aim was to find a structure that was specific, structured and accountable to some specific purpose. The Future is Now program is what we came up with. This twofold purpose made sense to me. We will set up an on-going program to find and give free subscriptions to students (with specific and on-going outreach to schools across the country) and we will use the revenue from the purchase of those subscriptions to fuel more reporting.
I’m happy to say we have now sold 8,000 subscriptions under this program. And we hope to sell more.
The name I assume speaks for itself. Like any organization we have ambitions to do new and big things. But life is incremental. Ambitions and goals stretch out into the future. The last few months have shown many of us, probably most of the people who read TPM, that the future is rushing up into the present, that if there’s a time to do big things it should be now.
Some important additional information: Only individuals can purchase Future Is Now subscriptions. And purchasers get no input, visibility or involvement with anything to do with our editorial process. All they get is our commitment to use the revenue for this specific purpose.
Would you like to be part of what we’re doing?
First, let me make a specific point. If you’re a regular reader and feel like you want to do your part to support TPM, sign up for Prime. You should feel no obligation to do anything else. But some people have the financial resources and motivation to do more. That’s who this is for.
If you would like to be involved in what we’re doing, let me know by dropping me a line at our comments email talk (at) talkingpointsmemo.com. If you’re a student and you’d like a membership under the Future Is Now program, we will be announcing how to sign up later this month.
Thank you to all readers, now and in the future.