Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Message from David Corn: I've Never Done This Before

Dear Friend,

I've never written a fundraising letter?not counting the few notes I sent my parents when I was in college. I'm a journalist. I write articles and books?about politics, national security, and the world around us. And I'm damn lucky; I get paid to do so by The Nation. But our legendary magazine has been hit by a fiscal crisis?one caused by the sort of institutional Washington corruption I often cover?and I've been asked by our publishing team to ask people like you, who care about independent media, for help. Please click here to pitch in.

Teresa Stack, The Nation's president, explains the crisis this way: Postal regulators have accepted a scheme designed in part by lobbyists for the Time-Warner media conglomerate. In short, mailing costs for mega-magazines like Time-Warner's own Time, People and Sports Illustrated will go up less than other magazines or even decrease. But smaller publications like The Nation will be hit by an enormous rate increase of half a million dollars a year.

For The Nation, $500,000 a year is a lot of money. Believe me, I know. I've been working at the magazine for over 20 years. The pay ain't great. But there are few media outlets that allow their writers and reporters the freedom to go beyond the headlines and take on the powers that be?to ask inconvenient questions and pursue uncomfortable truths.

This whopping postal rate hike took effect last month. Not to be melodramatic, but this rate increase is a threat to democratic discourse. Why should magazines that can afford high-powered lobbyists receive preferential treatment? This rise in mailing costs will make it harder for the magazine to deliver the investigative reporting and independent-minded journalism upon which you depend. (Take my word; I see the editors and publishing people in our New York office freaking out about this postal rate hike and discussing possible cutbacks.)

The magazine is fighting this corporate-driven, unfair and anti-democratic increase as best it can. It has joined forces with conservative publications in an attempt to beat back the rigged rate structure. (Imagine The Nation and National Review, working together!) But even if we "win"?which, I'm told, is a long shot?The Nation will still face hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional postage.

So I'm turning to you. I've never asked alternative media readers like you for anything?except the time it takes to read what I write for the magazine and its website. But The Nation needs help to cover this shortfall, and it needs that help now. Simply put, I'm asking you to send us money: whatever contribution you can, as soon as you can. Click here.

I'm not entirely comfortable writing to you as a fundraiser. Because people like you have supported the magazine, I've been able to do the work I enjoy for years. I appreciate that. Now I'm hoping you'll come through in this time of need. Certainly, I'd rather be chasing kick-ass stories than worrying about magazine budget cuts and writing pleading letters. So please help us deal with this unfair rate hike, and I'll go back to my day job.


David Corn, Washington Editor
The Nation

P.S. You can also help by writing letters to your local newspaper, contacting your elected officials, and reaching out to family, friends, and co-workers to educate them about this threat to independent media. Go to Stop Postal Rate Hikes to learn more.

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