“There are many ways of making one’s fortune in journalism. As for us, I don’t need to say that we arrived poor in this newspaper and are also leaving it poor. Our sole wealth has always been in the respect we bore for our readers. And if it is the case that that respect was reciprocated, then that was, and will remain, our only luxury,” – Albert Camus, in a farewell to the readers of Combat, a clandestine newspaper of the French Resistance.
That quote is worth repeating in the desperate marketplace of online journalism. I was joshed by a friend the other night about my lack of a business strategy for growth, my attempt to minimize the intrusion and extra work required by an advertizing model, my dismay at the blurring of editorial and advertizing in “sponsored content” and so on. None of this made much sense to my friend as part of a strategy to make as much money as possible.
But that was never the strategy in the first place. I’ve even decided not to take a salary this year at all in order to invest in the Dish itself and keep it afloat. We’re still chugging along steadily in revenue, and we are brainstorming about new sources of income (stay tuned), but it remains unlikely that we will reach our target of $900,000 by the end of the year, even though we have already brought in gross revenue of around $680,000 – three-quarters of the way there. The most passionate readers have already joined. It gets harder after that. If you’re still on the fence, read the Dish regularly, and are frustrated by using up all your free read-ons, please subscribe. It’s only $1.99 a month – about as cheap an entry cost for any quality journalism as you can get.
But I didn’t start this blogging thing to be rich. I started it to be free. As long as it can pay me something like a real salary by the second year, I’ll be happy.
The real luxury, as Camus wrote, is our respect for you, our readers. And the knowledge every day that it is reciprocated. That’s simply priceless.