Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The bet we're making

I wanted to follow up with a bit more background on our announcement from last week. In case you missed it, will be going completely ad-free by September.

This isn't a decision that we made lightly, as it entails a certain amount of risk at time when finances are strained all around. But it is something we've been considering for a long time now.

From the beginning, advertising and journalism -- or more specifically, advertisers and journalists -- have been at odds. But over the past few years, much of online advertising has become a race to the bottom.

As Google and Facebook suck up the majority of ad dollars, websites have been forced to cram in more and more ads that pay less and less. And the ads themselves have become more intrusive, more distracting, and in the worst cases outright misleading.

Nearly every day I receive an email or phone call from another firm that wants to place ads on, often in the form of "sponsored content" that tries to look like real news. That's not the future we want for In These Times, or for journalism.

Journalism entered into this devil's bargain more than a hundred years ago out of a fear that people wouldn't pay the actual costs of producing real news. Today we're challenging that notion once and for all, by asking our readers to commit to supporting independent journalism directly with their donations.

Over the years we have worked with advertisers who align with our values, like Domini Impact Investments, Verso Books, Haymarket Books and others, and you'll continue to see these types of ads in the print magazine. But overall, we've made a clear commitment to investing and growing reader support, not advertising sales.

It's a risk we're taking, but we'd rather put our future in the hands of readers like you than in an advertising industry that's not invested in In These Times or the work we do. I hope you agree that's the right call.

If journalism that's committed to readers, not corporate advertisers, is something you want to see more of, please chip in and make a donation today.

Thanks for reading,

Christopher Hass
Executive Publisher

P.S. A donation of any amount, no matter the size, will go a long way towards making this shift possible for In These Times. We know that many of our readers have been financially impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, and whether or not you can pitch in today, we are grateful to have you as part of the In These Times community. Stay healthy and stay safe.

In These Times is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, reader-funded publication. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent of the law (EIN: 94-2889692).