Sunday, February 1, 2015

Journalist Andrew Sullivan to Stop Blogging

The Atlantic

Yesterday, journalist and blogger Andrew Sullivan reposted his announcement that he will cease blogging in the near future. Sullivan started The Dish, a blog he created where "readers – and readers alone –  sustain the site." Last fall, Sullivan gave a stirring speech at the Ath on the future of journalism and the seemingly insurmountable financial challenges facing the industry. 

In his announcement, "A Note to My Readers," he explains, "There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen." His blogging lifestyle, though considered by many a noble service, has taken its toll on his health and personal life. He worries that he is "saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again."
He dedicates the rest of the post to his readers: 

In just two years, you built a million dollar revenue company, with 30,000 subscribers, a million monthly readers, and revenue growth of 17 percent over the first year. You made us unique in this media world – and we were able to avoid the sirens of clickbait and sponsored content. We will never forget it.

He retraces the stories he and his readers experienced together, from the 2000 Florida recount to turmoil in Syria.  He recounts the policy changes and movements they effected, including marriage equality and popular awareness of U.S. torture. Behind every blog experience, he emphasized that "[They] lived through history with the raw intensity of this new medium, and through a media landscape of bewildering change." Subscribers "were not just readers of The Dish, but active participants, writers, contributors," a relationship he describes as "mass intimacy." 

According to Sullivan, he originally started The Dish so "[he] was beholden to no one but [his] readers... [he] had no editor to please, no advertiser to woo, no publisher to work for, no colleagues to manage." Admittedly, the business model presented challenges, but he was eager to construct solutions - for The Dish's success, but also for what it would mean for the entire industry. A self-sustaining news source, without any advertising revenue, would be revolutionary for journalism in the digital age. 

Some in the industry hope The Dish will continue without Sullivan. They are optimistic that the community he has built and the readers he has attracted will survive him, fueling The Dish into the future. 

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