Fundraiser, Michigan — August 4, 2017 at 8:44 am

Independent progressive websites are slowly disappearing


Let’s face it, progressive blogs, especially here in Michigan, are becoming more and more rare. In our state, there were once two major progressive political blogs: Michigan Liberal and Blogging for Michigan. Neither of these websites exists today. In fact, Eclectablog is one of the only progressive sites in the state still bringing you news and commentary about what’s happening in a state that can only be described as Ground Zero for Republican government overreach and the devastating impacts of gerrymandering.

There are a lot of reasons for this but the main one is that people who run blogs can’t sustain it forever because they invariably have day jobs. I certainly do. I could never pay my mortgage and all of my other bills on what I make from this site. In fact, some of our writers probably make more from Eclectablog in a year than I do. So bloggers burn out or move on and their voices are silenced.

This is why the conservative blogosphere has an advantage over us: they are far more likely to be supported by corporate benefactors. Our main “rival” is clearly Michigan Capitol Confidential, the blog of the corporatist front group Mackinac Center for Public Policy. They hire former journalists and others, put them on staff, and pay them a salary. They are able to do this because they have generous donors like the Koch brothers and the super-wealthy DeVos family.

We have nothing close to that on the progressive side.

I have always operated this site based on two premises. First, if we provide great content that isn’t hyperbolic, isn’t shrill or silly or stupid, and that is professional in all ways, people will be willing to support that to keep it going. Second, the site could never be a charity that I pay into month after month and/or that exploited the creative work of others. In other words, all of the regular content providers need to be compensated. So far, it’s been working out as planned.

However, this year’s fundraising has been … difficult. During a time when the costs to run the site have increased substantially, we raised less money at our annual party than in previous years and, frankly, the quarterly fundraisers have not been as successful as in the past, either. But I am confident that we can turn that around. And it’s important that we do so that Michigan’s last remaining progressive news and commentary site doesn’t have to close its doors and so we can continue to expand, improve the site and the podcast, and add new writers.

Please consider making a contribution and join the growing community of supporters here at Eclectablog who sustain us. You could, for example, consider making an recurring monthly donation. You can choose your monthly giving level using this form:

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There are two other ways to help, as well. First, you can use the handy PayPal form at the top of the right sidebar to make a one-time donation via Paypal in the amount of your choice. Second, you can send a check (which avoids Paypal taking out a percentage of your donation) to Chris Savage, P.O. Box 32, Dexter, MI 48130. Please make the check payable to “Eclectablog”.

If you are able to help support us financially, we would be most grateful. There was never a more easy way to #resist. Thank you for your support.

  • gregsullmich

    Do you have contacts in the labor press in MI? I suspect they all want to expand their reach into the blogosphere. If someone could pool these resources, we might have the makings of a labor blog that would nicely supplement some of the work Eclectablog is doing.

    Also, what about local, regional and specialty blogs in MI? Including many of the 23 blogs on your Blogroll? Perhaps cross-posting articles, featuring stories about their efforts, developing a network?

    This article is strikingly similar to a “demise of the Michigan blogosphere” article that I read in Michigan Liberal about 10 years ago. Unfortunately I lost the citation. The underlying challenges haven’t changed much.

    • There is no such thing as “the labor press”. This isn’t about the blogosphere not cross posting each other’s content enough. It’s about their being very little investment into making it a sustainable thing. And that is largely because progressive groups including the labor unions are back on their heels. All those anti-worker attacks we’ve seen since January 2010 are working.
      And you won’t find any citations to things posted on Michigan Liberal any more. That site doesn’t exist any longer. Probably would have helped if it had actually been a liberal blog and not just one dude’s platform for tearing other people down including many Democrats.

    • Crossposting actually hurts blogs in today’s internet. Search engines rank websites with repeat content lower than those with original content. So strike that from the list.

      Sponsorships and ads are they way most bloggers make it pay. And even then, it is an uphill battle.

      • Ads are completely useless. On a site like ours, the best I could hope to raise from ads would be a couple of hundred bucks a month, about a sixth of what it costs to run the site, pay the writers, and host the podcast. Plus they muck up the site something fierce. It really degrades the experience. That’s why we don’t run any ads except for the ones that come in automatically with the Disqus commenting system.