This morning we sent out our end of year fundraising appeal. You can read the full text here but the gist of it is this: The Nation is facing a significant budget shortfall, at a moment when support for investigative journalism is collapsing. The definition of "journalism," and the debate over how people get their content, who pays for it and what form it takes is changing every day. As The Nation's Editor, these shifts in the media landscape are fascinating. As The Nation's Publisher, these changes are alarming. Reporting--real, gritty, hands-on journalism--costs serious money.Bwaahahahaha. With an average daily traffic of 7,000 visits, I investigated the Sparkman case in Kentucky and covered the NY23 special election on tip-jar hits, and yet the biggest left-wing magazine in America (not counting Newsweek) can't pay their bills because reporting "costs serious money"!
C'mon, people, don't you want to send me in Pasadena to cover the BCS game? "Real, gritty, hands-on journalism" with college cheerleaders? Just to shove it in Katrina Vanden Heuvel's face? Isn't that worth $5 or $10 to you?
UPDATE: The left-wing blog BuzzFlash is angry because Vanden Heuvel's fundraising letter complains that bloggers "these 'aggregator' websites use our work without contributing a penny to support and produce the journalism we invest in."
Funny. That's kind of how some small-business owners feel about their federal taxes, but I thought Vanden Heuvel was "progressive"?
UPDATE II: John T. of Raleigh, N.C., just hit the tip jar. Earlier today Michael R. of Shawnee, Kansas, and Stephen N. of Plano, Texas, kicked in to help me beat those Empty Tip-Jar Blues. Among other readers contributing to the Pasadena tip-jar this week: Kenneth J. of Austin (!), Larry L. of Houston, Barry C. of Florrisant, Mo., Jeanne P. of Drexel Hill, Pa., and Nathan D. of Huntley, Ill.
UPDATE III: On Twitter, Dan Collins said I was mocking Katrina Vanden Heuvel, to which I replied:Jimmie Bise liked that so much he re-Tweeted, and I apologized for recycling a joke. Jimmie then said it was good enough to deserve recycling. So I replied:Captain Butler.
UPDATE IV: Speaking of thanks, more tip-jar hitters have joined the effort to send me to Pasadena. Robert G. of St. Augustine, Fla., who was the first guy to hit the Pasadena tip-jar, hits me again, and Mike in El Segundo says I need another carton of cigarettes for Christmas. Christopher B. of Nova Scotia hits me to get me "at least halfway to the airport," and thus adds his name to Kathy Shaidle's on my Very Short List of "Good Canadians."
And a certain Steven G. of Santa Barbara hits the tip jar with a mention of USC fullback Sam "Bam" Cunningham. Cunningham scored two TDs in a 42-21 USC win over the Tide at Legion Stadium in 1970s.
That home-field defeat convinced the university's boosters to allow Bear Bryant to recruit black players (as he had wanted to do for years). One of Coach Bryant's assistants said, "Sam Cunningham did more to integrate Alabama in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King did in 20 years." Indeed.
Coach Bryant (and a lot of Alabama fans, my parents included) felt that the Tide was wrongly stigmatized for the state's racial politics, over which neither the coach nor the team had any control. In 1966, for example, the Tide finished 11-0 and won the Sugar Bowl, but was ranked only No. 3.
The fact that Mark Ingram of Flint, Mich., was willing to come to Tuscaloosa -- and became the Tide's first Heisman winner -- indicates that 'Bama may have finally shaken that decades-old stigma. Now if we could just get the NCAA to stop persecuting the Tide . . .