Passing the Digital Tin Cup

Dear Bacon’s Rebellion readers,

This is the beginning of a new year, the time when many online publications hit up their readers for donations (see the “subscribe” button in the upper left-hand corner). While we will gladly accept your contributions, which we apply to an upgraded hosting package and other services that improve our blogging productivity and your reader experience, but I hate to bludgeon you with annoying appeals for money.

Instead, there are better ways you can help. You can help us grow the publication.

The thing that keeps Steve Haner, Don Rippert and me pumping out in-depth news and commentary from a conservative/libertarian perspective is the hope that we might be making a difference. How do we tell if we’re making a difference? One obvious way is by the number of readers we reach. 

The good news is that readership as measured by page views and email subscriptions have increased smartly over the past year. Since June, page views have risen significantly every month compared to the previous year. The not-so-great news is that we could be reaching a lot more people.

VA News, the leading aggregator of Virginia political and public-policy news, has decided after much angst and hand-wringing over its editorial criteria to exclude stories written by Haner and me from its daily offering — thus depriving us of exposure to more than 12,000 readers every day. Frankly, I think VA News’s criteria are arbitrary and unreasonable, but they are what they are. We can cry about it… or we can do something about it.

The Virginia Mercury, a left-of-center digital publication, receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in foundation funding and has the resources to invest in building its circulation. I suppose we, too, could look for foundation funding. But Steve and I don’t want to be beholden to outside funders. (That’s one of the reasons I ceased accepting sponsorships for the blog.) We want to be able to say whatever we want to say without worrying whether we’re upsetting someone.

We’d rather grow organically with the help of like-minded readers. Here’s what I would ask you to do: Write an email and send it to every person in your address book whom you think might benefit from reading Bacon’s Rebellion. Tell them why you think it’s a worthwhile publication. And urge them visit the site and sign up for our email.

Even better, if you are so inclined, set up your own email distribution list on Outlook  (see instructions) and make a habit of regularly re-distributing posts that you find especially informative. Please free to add your own commentary! Tell your friends and contacts why you think the particular post warrants reading. For a modicum of effort — and only as the spirit moves you — you can act as a viral amplifier of the blog. (Include my email on your distribution list — I’d love to know what you’re up to.) To my mind, such a contribution would be better than money.

Still… If you’re inclined to send money instead, we’ll happily accept it. If you don’t want to donate by credit card, we’ll take checks. Just contact me at jabacon[at] for details. Trust me, we’ll find a good use for it. I’ll double the salary I pay Steve and myself. Two times zero equals zero! No, seriously, I have some ideas for how to use the money once we build up the kitty.

— Jim Bacon

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6 responses to “Passing the Digital Tin Cup

  1. Ditto. If you try to sign up and find you don’t start to get the notices of new postings, let us know (be sure to check your spam filter first.) Other suggestions on how to make this more readable, more accessible, will be considered. I’ve made a decision to stick with this into 2019, and appreciate the many readers I do hear from.

  2. Well, if Virginia Mercury is “left” of center what is BR in your own eyes?

    How would you characterize BR in one sentence or so? Are the writers biased or lean one way or the other or do you see yourselves as objective?

    Seems to me, that aside, that I’m seeing a lot more commenters that I have not seen before and many are high caliber.

    And I do like many of the guest articles that are fact-based, down-the-middle …usually.

    I actually have a bone to pick with VA news for posting articles from papers that have paywalls. I think at the least they should note the ones that are.

    Finally – thank you and truly do wish that you grow and grow but keep those dark themes to a low rumble.

  3. I use you all in terms of passing along to elected officials and other FB groups, sources from here. I also talk about you all on my blog and point out some of the articles.
    Have to wait for payday for the other. 🙂 Problem is, I stay independent also from all the “stuff” going on here and rather stay investigative type journalism than anything else.

  4. VPAP lost all credibility with me when (on Jan 2, 2019) they published the following from Jeanine Martin …

    A couple of points …

    1. I think highly of Jenaine and I regularly read the blog she runs – The Bull Elephant
    2. Jeanine clearly publishes a combination of news and commentary. From my (admittedly unscientific) observation – she leans more toward commentary than news.
    3. The article in question is news and was a good choice for publication by Va News (as part of VPAP)

    So, what’s the problem?

    My understanding of the so-called “policy” at VPAP is that people like Jim Bacon and Steve Haner publish both news and commentary. Therefore, they are not acceptable as contributors by VPAP. I’d invite Jim and Steve to comment on my understanding of the situation.

    Again, I like Jeanine’s writing and make it a point to read her columns. However, she writes more than news. In a recent column entitled, “REP. JENNIFER WEXTON REPLACES POW/MIA FLAG WITH TRANSGENDER FLAG” she had this sub-title, “How embarrassing to live in the district represented by Jennifer Wexton.”

    I agree with Jeanine regarding Wexton but her commentary is clearly that … commentary, not news.

    Why are Jeanine Martin’s writings acceptable to VPAP but not Jim Bacon’s and Steve Haner’s?

    • Interesting that you mentioned that article by Jeanine Martin. I brought that article to the attention of David Poole at VPAP and asked what the difference was between Jeanine, Haner and me. He responded: “Jeanine seems to be doing more news these days. Probably should have not run it, but it seemed to us the Mason Dixon poll was news.”

      My guess is that he’ll stop running Jeanine in VA News, which was not my intention. I was hoping he’d see the light regarding Bacon’s Rebellion. Poole tries hard to strike a reasonable balance. Haner’s theory is that someone on the VPAP board has it out for us. Who knows.

      No point in whining about it. The world isn’t fair. We need to pump the readership of Bacon’s Rebellion by other means.

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