Discover more from Unreported Truths
If you signed up yesterday, thank you! Some thoughts on our partnership and ways I can make Unreported Truths better
Yesterday, I directly asked free subscribers to join as paid. Your response was heartening. But some emails from former subscribers had me thinking about ways to improve.
Seems you free subscribers were just waiting for me to ask nicely.
Yesterday morning, I emailed a short appeal to free subs to step up. And a bunch of you did. Thank you!
Yes, I can and will use occasional delaywalls, where I give stories to paid subscribers first, to drive subscriptions. But I would rather put out articles to the widest audience - including free subscribers - at once. Doing so increases their impact. And ironically, the more of you decide to pay, the easier it is for me to give articles away.
(If you didn’t sign up yesterday and you’re still on the fence - get off it, cowboy. Or cowgirl.)
At the same time, my email led some of you to respond explaining why you had dropped your subscriptions. I take those comments seriously (even if they’re snarky), and they help me as I figure out what to write about.
The answers fell into three main categories. The third is most important, so let me clear out the others first.
First, for some people, especially those on fixed incomes, $6 a month or $60 a year is a significant expense. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do on that issue. I will say I have not raised the price of Unreported Truths since it started in mid-2021 (even though inflation has been close to 15 percent since then - thanks, Uncle Joe!) - and I don’t plan to do so.
Second, some of you feel I write too much. (You fill my inbox!) I get the demands on your time. But I also want to give you value for your money. (See comment 1.) I will probably continue to write three or four times a week, including weekends.
A related issue is that my articles can sometimes run long. This is a problem on the Internet, where “column inches” are infinite, and doubly a problem for people who write without editors. But I am increasingly conscious of the need to fight bloat. Most of my Stacks still probably run about 1000 words on average, longer than typical newspaper articles, but I will keep trying. Almost every piece is better 25 percent shorter than its first draft.
I am also aware I annoy some of you when I call too many articles “URGENT” or “VERY URGENT.” I’ll fight that too, and try to save those tags for when they’re really needed.
Finally, and most crucially, some of you don’t like my political commentary, especially my views on Donald Trump. I hear you. I can’t promise I’ll always succeed, but I am going to try to avoid the temptation of writing overtly political commentary going forward.
There are three very good reasons for this - and they have nothing to do with losing subscriptions.
First, political commentary is cheap. We all have opinions, and I don’t have any particular expertise (or connections to politicians that give me hidden insight).
Second, I am a reporter first and foremost; I always have been and I always will be. I was at the Times, I was on Twitter (it was my ability to show that the hospitals were not being overrun in early April 2020 that led my audience to explode), and I am here. You read me for my skills to find, deliver, and analyze information, sometimes with an edge. I am going to try to stick with what I’m best at.
Third, no one ever changes anyone’s mind about politics.
That’s doubly true of Donald Trump, where opinions are set in stone. So I’m just wasting your time and mine - time and energy I should be spending reporting, whether about Covid, the mRNAs, the baby bust, free speech issues, or other topics where I believe I have an edge, the issue is underreported, or both.
With that, back to work. (And please, if you’re still thinking about it, don’t forget to get off that fence and subscribe.)