Controversial columnist Andrew Sullivan has announced he’s ending his tenure at the Daily Beast, which has published his blog, the Daily Dish, since 2011.
Thankfully the UK-born journalist isn’t closing up shop—he’s going solo:
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.
And so last week, the three of us signed an agreement setting up an independent company called Dish Publishing LLC, and agreed to strike out on our own with no safety net below us but you.
As of February 1, the Daily Dish will appear exclusively on AndrewSullivan.com, but will have no advertising. Instead, funding will come from premium memberships for exclusive Dish content:
Our particular version will be a meter that will be counted every time you hit a “Read on” button to expand or contract a lengthy post. You’ll have a limited number of free read-ons a month, before we hit you up for $19.99. Everything else on the Dish will remain free. No link from another blog to us will ever be counted for the meter—so no blogger or writer need ever worry that a link to us will push their readers into a paywall. It won’t. Ever. There is no paywall. Just a freemium-based meter.
We’ve tried to maximize what’s freely available, while monetizing those parts of the Dish where true Dishheads reside. The only tough love we’re offering is the answer to the View From Your Window Contest. You’ll have to become a member to find where the place is.
Sullivan insists the move isn’t generated by dissatisfaction with the Daily Beast, but rather a desire to free himself from corporate interests: “The point of doing this as simply and as purely as possible is precisely to forge a path other smaller blogs and sites can follow,” writes Sullivan. “We want to help build a new media environment that is not solely about advertising or profit above everything, but that is dedicated first to content and quality.”
His bosses at the Daily Beast, who are hosting his content through the end of January, seem supportive. “Andrew Sullivan boldly strikes off on his own,” tweeted DB co-founder Tina Brown. “Sad to see him go, but wishing [him] all the best!”
Will you follow Sullivan in his new endeavor? Let us know in the comment section below.