TPM Readers Say Why #1

I’m making my way through your emails, which I thank you for — both for their content and the thoughtfulness you have taken in writing them. This one from TPM Reader AH is idiosyncratic but one thing AH said really resonated with me: “If the goal of journalism is to make the reader less confused, then TPM’s mode of existence contributes to that mission as much as the reporting in the articles.” There are many goals of journalism but it’s difficult for me to think of many that are more important. Indeed, a number of you have told us that what keeps you coming back to TPM is finding that the new big story or crises don’t come as big surprises to you because our journalism and analysis have anticipated them.

From TPM Reader AH

I started reading TPM in high school, following a link from Atrios, who I had found via Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern Life (so I guess it’s now been… At least 17 years) . I am also a creature of habit, so I guess the actionable part of this story is post a lot (to reinforce that habit of checking the site) and get ’em while they’re young.

A bit more seriously, I think TPM is generally ahead of the curve, not just in reporting on specific subjects (US Atty scandal under Bush, the importance of Ukraine and eastern Europe, the Duke Stir, etc.) but also in the way you operate: acknowledging the role of viewpoint in editorial decision making when about the only other publication doing so was Gawker, foreseeing the collapse of online advertising as a viable business model, etc. These things themselves seemed like curiosities at the time, but in retrospect made analyses I read later much easier to digest. If the goal of journalism is to make the reader less confused, then TPM’s mode of existence contributes to that mission as much as the reporting in the articles.

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When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

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