Andrew Sullivan is having yet another pledge drive. His rationale?

The very success of the site – doubling in traffic roughly every twelve months – has also meant ever-expanding expenses, bandwidth and workload. We’re now catering to the same number of readers as established political magazines, but we have essentially an editorial staff of one. It was once relatively easy to deal with the work part-time. No longer. From filtering through over 700 emails a day to scanning the Internet for stories and ideas to writing tens of thousands of words a month, this blog is a full-time job. I love it; I’ve learned an enormous amount from it; but it has meant giving up other assignments, postponing a book contract, and working on weekends and in the early hours of the morning. I’ve rarely missed a day in the past twelve months, apart from the yearly August breather. And I am not beholden to any big media entity. But that’s why I need your support – to keep this site independent, aggressive, timely and indebted to no-one but you.

Andrew is a terrific writer and I’m sympathetic to the bandwidth argument. His traffic is exponentially higher than mine, so I’m sure the site is somewhat expensive to run. On the other hand, I could do without the “I can’t do this alone because it’s too much work” argument. He posts less frequently than I do, for goodness sakes–and I’m a poor straight man with a regular job.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    Part of it is what I referred to on my post about academic bloggers v. professional writers a while back: if you are used to getting paid for every word you right, you have a different perspective on “giving away” our work.

    Still, I concur: the bandwith argument makes sense, the griping about time is less convincing. Plus, I would think that a popular blog is a useful promotional device–both in terms of hawking books, but in helping to get paying gigs in magazines and so forth (it has worked for Glenn, yes?)

  2. Yeah, but Sullivan is a professional writer who doesn’t do this in his “free time.” It’s part of his job, and he asks to be paid for it. I have no problem with that.

    My problem is that “I” can’t rack up 50K in donations!!!!!

    Maybe someday!

  3. James Joyner says:

    But the blog isn’t part of his job, or else his employers would pay him for it. He’s not doing any more free writing than most of us–and indeed, less than many of us. If he can get donations, that’s fine–I’ll take them too–but that strikes me as a weak argument for the request.

  4. Paul says:

    Not to put a damper on the bandwidth issue but (as an owner of a hosting company) I find it hard to believe it costs him more than 1200 a year.

    I have no clue his numbers but his site is mostly text. 1200 a year is generous.

  5. Tom says:

    Let’s be realistic.
    Andrew has found a way to provide a reasonable income for himself. He does not have to fuss with advertisers to get this income. All he has to do is beg for 2 weeks of the year. Last year I paid, this year I will not. Nothing personal, just his output has trailed off, and the quality in comparison to what is out there is not different.
    Good for him if people will pay. And James, even
    Glenn begs on a semi regular basis.

  6. Paul says:

    Yeah and I gotta say, Sully annoys be a little but at least he is calling himself full time and “cutting out the middle man” of a media enterprise. It could be called part of a “new media.” (as much as I hate that phrase.)

    Glenn has more than a few revenue streams and it seems even more tacky when he does it.

    my 2 pesos