One of the nation's leading gay political bloggers, Andrew Sullivan, announced today that he's leaving The Daily Beast — where he has penned The Dish for years — and starting his own company, Dish Publishing LLC. According to Politico, Sullivan, the author of five books and the former editor of The New Republic, and his staff are launching an independent website, AndrewSullivan.com, that will be financially supported by his readers (at $1.67 a month or $19.99 a year).
On his blog, Sullivan wrote that The Daily Beast offered him resources to grow and expand far beyond what he imagined when he launched his blog 12 years ago, but as his contract at the Beast was ending, he faced a decision:
"As usual, we sought your input and the blogosphere's — hence the not-terribly subtle thread that explored whether online readers will ever pay for content, and how. The answer is: no one really knows. But as we debated and discussed that unknowable future, we felt more and more that getting readers to pay a small amount for content was the only truly solid future for online journalism. And since The Dish has, from its beginnings, attempted to pioneer exactly such a solid future for web journalism, we also felt we almost had a duty to try and see if we could help break some new ground. The only completely clear and transparent way to do this, we concluded, was to become totally independent of other media entities and rely entirely on you for our salaries, health insurance, and legal, technological and accounting expenses."
Sullivan writes that he and his executive editors, Patrick Appel and Chris Bodenner, decided to strike out on their own with no safety net except their readers, adding, "So it's over to you. We're in your hands. The meter won't start until February 1, but you can become a member now. It takes two minutes tops. All you need is a credit card and a zip code — and you're done. The more of you who decide to contribute more than $19.99 the deeper and richer and more ambitious a Dish we will be able to provide. We have no marketing, no ads, no corporation behind us now. We only have you."
Read Sullivan's whole blog post at AndrewSullivan.com.