I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Supporting this blog

One of my principal objectives over the last several months has been to find an economically feasible way to continue to devote the bulk of my time to this blog. I typically blog 7 days a week -- always at least 6 -- and usually spend between 10 and 12 hours a day, sometimes more, on work relating in some way to the blog. Activities such as writing and guest blogging for magazines, along with blog ads, help, but they only produce supplemental income. Periodic support from readers is necessary in order to be able to sustain a blog full-time. Nobody likes to ask: I know I don't. But reader support just is essential to enable someone to blog more or less full-time.

I've had conversations over the last couple of months with various magazines and websites about the prospect of moving my blog to their site, something I would consider only because it provides a model for making blogging more economically viable. But that is something I strongly prefer not to have to do, because I really want to preserve the independence of this blog. Even with an agreement to be able to blog however I want and as much (or as little) as I want -- which is the only type of framework I'd consider -- being merged into some other entity inevitably creates expectations about content that slowly chips away at true independence.

The other alternative is to try to build the site into a super-high traffic blog in order to maximize ad revenue. Traffic for this blog has steadily increased almost every month since it began, but blogs that are within this traffic range (20,000-40,000 visitors per day) can produce some supplemental income but not income that sustains a full-time blog.

At this point, in order to generate blog-sustaining ad revenue, a blog has to be within the highest traffic range (70,000-150,000 visits per day). But blogs within that range are almost all, without exception, group blogs with multiple posters ensuring frequent updates covering every topic, or Atrios-like blogosphere "shepherds" with numerous posts throughout the day designed to guide people to selected posts and news items. To try to transform this blog into a super-high-trafficked blog -- not through natural growth but by changing how it operates -- would change the character and nature of the blog and, for that reason, is an option I do not want to pursue.

I've become a true believer in the blogosphere as a medium. Its ability to affect political discussion and to effectuate political change is unrivalled. It not only scrutinizes national journalism like nothing else can, but also supplements and, at times, even supplants the national media in fulfilling its central function of providing an adversarial force against government power. One of its most potent attributes is its collaborative effort -- the ability to draw on and work with commenters here and other bloggers is an enormous advantage over every other medium. I really believe that the greatest impact can come from devoting my time to my independent blog rather than to other competing activities, and that is the reason I want to be able to continue to do so full-time. But to do that, I need to ensure that it is financially viable and that requires support from readers.

I genuinely appreciate everyone who has supported the blog in the past. Beyond the support, it is truly gratifying to know that people believe the work that is done here is valuable enough to warrant support. The best way to contribute is to click on the "Make a Donation" button at the top of the left-hand column of the blog, where you can use paypal. If you prefer, please e-mail me and I will send instructions on how you can do so by mail. I really do appreciate everyone who participates here and there are other ways to help support the blog if you're unable to contribute (such as clicking on ads and patronizing advertisers).

As I said, I'd prefer (strongly) not to have to write posts like this, but the reality is that projects like this need to be funded in order to be effective and to allow one to devote the time and energy to them which they require.

My Ecosystem Details