It’s no secret that this has been a turbulent time for the news media. There have been massive layoffs at daily newspapers, cutbacks at once ascendant online publications, and enough newsroom send-off parties to make caterers and liquor distributors delight while the rest of us reporters cry in our bourbon.
But there have been signs of great hope. Foundation funding has buoyed the likes of The Washington Monthly, Pro Publica, and our friends at Report for America, an AmeriCorps for young journalists. Once locked in a losing battle against Big Tech for advertising dollars, some publications, scrambling to get pennies for “clicks” and “eyeballs,” are now making good money from subscriptions, most notably The New York Times. Podcasts, as our own Grace Gedye has noted, have become a decent revenue stream, albeit one also threatened by Spotify, Amazon’s Audible, and other big-tech companies.
Among the most exciting and interesting developments are web platforms that allow individual journalists to strike out independently. We’ve seen top names in journalism leave legacy publications to launch their own Substack or use other platforms to write and collect subscription revenue from old readers they brought with them and new ones drawn by their new fora. Andrew Sullivan, Timothy Noah, Jeff Stein, Jessica Valenti, Matthew Yglesias, and Dave Roberts are among the new self-platformed pioneers. Some of their financial and editorial success has been extraordinary.
So, we’re not surprised that two terrific journalists who have been part of the Monthly family for many years are packing up the covered wagon and joining this modern-day gold rush. Many of you know the writings of Martin Longman and Nancy LeTourneau. Each has brought wisdom, precise thinking, and a passion for social justice to their work, all informed by living outside the Beltway in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, respectively. Soon, you’ll be able to find their sharp analysis at Progress Pond, a progressive platform that Longman built and that promises to grow with LeTourneau and others contributing there.
We wish them both well, but we’re not quite saying goodbye either. Both are becoming contributing editors on our masthead, joining our most devoted and esteemed alumni like James Fallows, Michelle Cottle, Katherine Boo, Haley Sweetland Edwards, Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, Steve Benen, and Ed Kilgore. They’ll write for us when the spirit moves them, and we hope the spirit visits them soon. Please subscribe and follow them at Progress Pond.