Helping to shed a lot of light…and a little heat

It’s no secret that world of journalism is in a state of upheaval. The very public implosion of the current incarnation of The New Republic is only the latest example of the trends affecting the field. The online revolution was the first big shock, of course; the Washington Monthly was one of the first to adapt to the digital world, and happily so. Other shocks included the decline in online ad revenue precipitated by consolidation in the market.

The latest trend is toward “hot takes,” sponsored “content” and lurid sensationalism designed to generate as many clicks as possible at the expense of quality. These are trends the Washington Monthly has not given into. But that means that instead of relying on overpowerful Silicon Valley scions or shameless clickbait, the Washington Monthly depends on donations from readers like you. The hamsters need food to run the wheels that power the servers; the writers could also use a meal or two themselves.

But that’s not all the Washington Monthly does well. In the years I’ve been a loyal reader before coming on board to help on weekends, I’ve been consistently impressed with the Monthly’s ability to shed light on the issues without becoming boring or derivative. Most sites these days either fall into the trap of trying to be too balanced in their presentation–which, given the extremism of the modern GOP, usually serves to obfuscate the issue rather than bring it clarity–or devolve into pure partisan ranting without much in the way of explanatory power and clarifying fire. Only a few left-leaning places on the web manage to strike the balance of shedding light while keeping it interesting and applying the moral heat where it belongs. The Washington Monthly is one of those places, which is why I’m proud to be a contributor here.

So, please chip in to help out if you can. Quality content these days relies more than ever on help from the people who value it most.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.