What a month.
We launched The Free Press on December 8. In the weeks since, we broke open the story of how Twitter rigged the Covid debate. We traveled to strip clubs and pawn shops in Miami to talk to the Democrats who’ve fallen for Ron DeSantis. We revealed how PayPal has become a cornerstone of our emerging social credit system. We investigated the broken incentives that have left us without a cure for Alzheimer’s. And we reported on how politics are overtaking the pursuit of truth at American universities.
On Honestly, we talked to parenting guru and economist Emily Oster; sat down with progressive Congressman Ro Khanna to discuss the future of the Democratic Party; and hosted legendary humorist David Sedaris.
We brought several brilliant new writers into the fold, including Coleman Hughes, Walter Kirn and Rupa Subramanya. And David Mamet became our resident cartoonist. (Don’t miss his Marxist birthday card in this week’s TGIF).
We are steadily increasing the scope of our report. And we have grown our readership by tens of thousands.
As of today, there are more than 300,000 of you all over the world. Your politics are as diverse as your geography, as you let us know every day in the comments section or in the tips inbox. (Shout out to our brave intern, Daniel, who fields your questions, concerns, and the occasional abuse!)
Our community is growing and we want to make a greater commitment to all of you in 2023.
For starters, you’re going to be getting more from me. I’ve spent the last two years focused mostly on building The Free Press—bringing in new voices—but I’ve missed writing. Common Sense is becoming my column of The Free Press. In Common Sense, you’ll find my essays, Q&As with people in the news, reading lists, and responses to your most thoughtful reader notes. You’ll be seeing a lot more of my byline.
For paid subscribers, we are kicking off the year by introducing two new perks.
First, community discussion threads.
This is where we’re going to get to know one another by talking about politics and culture, hashing out hot-button issues, recommending books and movies, and more. This is also where you’ll get to suggest questions for podcast guests, ideas for new areas of coverage, and more. We’re calling this space Freeform, and you can find it here. Last year, we hosted wide-ranging discussions about inflation, Thanksgiving, and President Biden’s State of the Union address. We loved those conversations. And we want more.
In 2023, you can expect a new community discussion thread each week.
Second, regular subscriber-only events. We’re calling this FP Forum.
In the past, we have hosted everyone from Iranian dissident Masih Alinejad to author Abigail Shrier. In 2023, we are committing to a bi-weekly, live Zoom every other Wednesday at 5:00pm PST. You’ll get to meet and talk to Free Press staff writers and editors, guest columnists, inside sources, and other special guests.
The first FP Forum will be this Wednesday with Dr. Jay Bhattacharya. A Stanford professor of medicine, economics, and health research policy, Dr. Bhattacharya was an early opponent of universal Covid-19 lockdowns and has found himself at the intersection of so many subjects we care about: the failure of our public health agencies; the suppression of scientific debate; the overreach of big tech; and much more.
You can find the event link and share your questions in advance here. We’ll see you on Wednesday January 18 at 5:00pm PST.
And, as always, the comments section of every piece we publish is reserved only for our paid subscribers.
We’ve got big plans down the line for live debates, in-person events, book clubs, film screenings, and more. And yes, we promise, merch is coming in the next few months.
If you value our work, we hope you’ll consider becoming a paid subscriber to The Free Press in the new year. (If money is tight and you can’t afford a subscription this year, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will field your request.)
You can do that by clicking right here:
I am extremely grateful to those of you who already have (and I’m hoping these perks can finally convince my grandmother to upgrade her subscription). Your financial support enables us to do what we do. To keep growing. To investigate stories relevant to your lives. To break news about subjects others avoid. To tell stories that illuminate and move you.
To do all of that, it’s essential that we remain independent—that we never rely solely on advertisers or investors or an algorithm.
So if you believe in what we do, if you are provoked or enlightened or challenged or edified by our work, support us. Help us revive the ideals that were once the bedrock of American journalism by becoming a paid subscriber today.
We’re looking forward to getting to know you much better in the next year.