Reader support works.

This is today’s Day by Day cartoon. It’s a thoughtful, witty, and irreverent strip that broaches current day problems in a very timely manner. Some of the lead characters are liberal, and others are conservative, some are younger and others are older, and the things they say will make you laugh and will also make you think.

But that’s not what this entry is about.

This entry is about the concept of reader supported media. The creator of Day by Day is Chris Muir. Sunday, he started a donation drive, asking the people who read the strip daily to consider donating $10 or more to support the cost of delivering the strip, with a goal of raising $10,000 by the end of the month. He closed the drive yesterday, having raised $20,000, which surprised him a great deal. This has covered the costs of delivering the strip for more than two years.

Michael Yon, one of the independent journalists that imbeds in Iraq that I’ve spoken of before many times is also reader supported. He has stubbornly stuck with his position as an independent journalist because he wants to avoid those who would dismiss his points due to financial connections to those who might support one position over another in the things he writes about (primarily the Mideast, and Iraq in particular). He has put together a book titled Moment of Truth in Iraq which will be published in April, describing the events of 2007 in Iraq, some of which he talked about in his releases, and some of which provide additional background and understanding that he wasn’t able to include. He has arranged a special deal with his publisher to pre-sell special signed editions of the book that will sell for the same $29.95 the regular editions will list at, and which will produce income that will help defray his expenses in returning to Iraq (he’s leaving today and should be there by the end of the month).

So the idea of reader supported media works. This doesn’t mean that any hack can just start writing something and make a living. It means that, if you have something worth saying, and can say it well, you have the opportunity to find an audience that can support your efforts without going through traditional media channels. That’s a good thing. It also means that you have a chance to find media outlets that are not beholden to any outside interest that you can support yourself. You have power if you will use it.

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