Dishheads Around The Globe

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A reader writes:

I have read you pretty religiously since the 2008 campaign. I actually first checked out your blog back in 2004, but as a teenager in Darwin, Australia it didn’t make much sense. But by now I’ve basically stopped reading anything else and rely on the Dish and NYT headlines. I was a founding subscriber last year and just re-upped for $25 (I’m a grad student, so I might pay more when it’s not going straight on my student loan.)

This Christmas I also bought a gift subscription for each of my little brothers. I’ve taken their education seriously and have previously done things like get the Guardian Weekly delivered to us in Oz, or sign them up for Foreign Affairs and The New Yorker. This year we are all going to be on different continents outside Oz for the first time. I wanted them to have something that was relevant to their lives as global citizens and would give us common reading experiences to discuss. I’m hoping the Dish will be more than just a news source, but help bring us closer together while we are apart.

Australia is just one of the top 30 countries seen in the above screenshot of the Dish’s back-end, displaying the number of page-views we have accrued in the past 30 days. That list continues far down the page and ends up encompassing nearly every nation on earth, down to Rwanda (37 page-views), Nepal (30), Paraguay (25), Mongolia (13), and Uzbekistan (1). A Kiwi writes:

It’s summer down here in New Zealand, and I’m just back from some serious doing nothing on a beach. And the first bit of actual something I’ve done (okay, except for putting the laundry on), is to renew my subscription. Because I like what you’re doing for journalism. And I get that this intimate media model means that I’m allowed to make suggestions for improving things. So here it is in two words: MORE RUGBY.

(Did I mention that I’m from New Zealand, home of all the rugby world titles? Except, to our shame, one: the Bingham Cup. See here for a story on the New Zealand Falcons who are going to Sydney this year to rectify that gap.)

Keep up the good work – and more rugby, please.

My dad has a big wide grin as he reads this. Update from a reader who tries to widen it with this video:

Reading your Kiwi’s email, I cheered in front of my computer screen! Yes, yes, yes, more rugby!

Of course, as a French reader and fan of “Les Bleus” since I was a kid, reading the rest, i.e. “Did I mention that I’m from New Zealand, home of all the rugby world titles?” perversely made me think of that try [seen in the video]. It is known here as “l’essai du bout du monde” (the ends of the earth try) and I thought that this thread, if it starts, would do with some “French flair” …

Sure, sure, it’s been long since les Bleus have shown that much brilliance and one can only hope Philippe Saint-André (at the origin of this famous try in 1994 and present coach of the French team) could breathe some of that “flair” into his players. But hope springs eternal. Far from me the idea to twist the knife in a very fresh wound, but young Gaël Fickou seemed to have found a tiny scrap of it at last in the last two minutes of the France-England match of last Saturday (6 Nations). Okay, I’ve fought hard (well, maybe not that hard..) but I just can’t resist this video.

All of the above in good fun of course! To me, that’s the true magic of rugby: to have so many dedicated fans, cheering their team from the bottom of their hearts, but always with respect for the other side and ready to share a beer with the other team’s fans the minute the match is over, united in their love of “le beau jeu”.

Another reader, from Woodside, Victoria:

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It’s warm today, as the thermometer in the picture says, with the smell of smoke in the air. Nothing to worry about yet.

Incidentally I renewed at $10 per month. Considering that I also subscribe to New York magazine, in which most of what I do is fumble at the crossword and giggle at the Approval Matrix, anything less doesn’t seem right.

And another Aussie:

I just subscribed for $50. I’ve been reading the Dish for almost two years now, avidly, but have (shamefully) been putting off subscribing.

I like paying for journalism, and I’ve done so for a while – I subscribed to Crikey, an Australian online news site, for three years at $200 p.a., and to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, both Australian newspapers, for the past two at $100 p.a. – so it was never having to pay that put me off subscribing to you (although, being a grad student, dollars are a little precious).

No: it was the awareness that in paying for journalism I was, to some extent, going to be locking myself into a certain view and style of news – like the viewer who only watches Fox because that’s what they pay for. I didn’t want that. Both Crikey and The Sydney Morning Herald are left-of-centre publications; The Australian, a News Ltd paper, was my attempt to get some dissent and difference to my news consumption. But one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the Dish is that content and viewpoints are both wide and constantly aired. I might disagree with what I read, but I love being able to read it.

So, when it came time for subscription renewal, I cancelled one to come to you.

Another paid in pounds:

Just wanted to say I’ve resubscribed at an annualised rate of a £1 a week, which works out (I think) at round about $85. Frankly, it’s a bargain. As Henry Root might say, here’s £50. Keep up the good work.

Cheers. We’re chuffed. Update from a dissenting reader up north:

Noting that pageviews from Canada are not even a twentieth of your domestic following, I find my own choice not to subscribe is sustained. It’s a very Yank phenomenon, your blog.

In the 1930s, a Canadian public-policy guru, Graham Spry, said of broadcasting (he meant radio, but it applied to television, and more widely too): “It’s the state – or the United States.” Either Canada built up public broadcasting or there would be nothing but American broadcasters sending us American news, culture, personalities. So Canada built a public broadcasting network – and regulated private broadcasters as well.

There’s no sign of publicly funded blogging on our horizon. But no Canadian blog with ambitions anything like yours could survive on subscriptions. And if we subscribe to The Dish, we reinforce the American blogging hegemony. You run a great blog, but despite the Kiwi dreamer who sent you his money and hoped for more rugby posts, it’s gotta be pretty much all America all the time.

Now if your 170,000 Canadian pageviews could translated into $20 apiece for a Canadian blogging consortium…? Hmmm. (But since 170 of them are probably me alone, there’s only a thousand or so of us looking in, anyway!)