Dear Dispatch Reader:
G-File readers will note that I didn’t include any parenthetical “Dear Reader” gag. There’s a reason for that. Our readers really are dear to us. That’s because our whole mission is about readers, not clickers. Many media outlets simply don’t care if you actually read them, so long as they get to bank the clicks. But we are dependent on our members, and there’s really no point to join if you’re not a reader.
Well, maybe I should claw that back a bit. There is a reason to be a member even if you’re not a reader. What we’re doing is important. We wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t think so. But we’re not a charity. We’re a business and one of the things we’re out to prove is that there’s a market for what we’re doing. So, yeah, I could make the case that subscribing is worth doing even if you don’t want to read some—or any—of the stuff we have to offer. I’m sure there are people who give to PBS or the local zoo, even if they don’t watch Masterpiece Theater or visit the monkey house.
But I don’t have to make that case. Because what we have to offer Dispatch members is worth the price. And if you’re the kind of person who thinks what we’re doing is important—for society, for journalism, or whatever—you’re probably also the kind of discerning reader who will see the value of what we’re offering. One reason we think you’ll see the value is that we take your time and your intelligence seriously. We’re not here trying to piss you off. We’re trying to illuminate what’s going on by focusing on the relevant facts and arguments that matter, not the irrelevant inanities that don’t. Sure, we think it’s important to “entertain” the reader in the sense that no one has time to read bad writing. So we work hard to provide clear, compelling, writing, reporting, and analysis. What we don’t do is “infotain” the reader by pandering to the lowest common denominator, carrying water for any party or personality or cherry picking only the facts that fit your preferred narrative.