Dear Common Sensers,
Bari here. It’s a Monday morning, which means I’m about to head into our weekly story meeting.
But before I do, I wanted to drop you a note to say: thank you. Thank you for making this work possible. Thank you for proving my hunch that there is still an appetite for honest news and lucid opinion in a time when outrage and hysteria are the name of the game.
When we launched Common Sense in January 2021, I had no idea what was going to happen. I certainly did not know what this newsletter would become. Now, a year-and-a-half later, there are over 220,000 of you reading our work.
As our audience has grown, our report has, too.
A few examples:
Donald McNeil covered pandemics for 40 years for the New York Times. Now he’s writing about monkeypox for us. Jennifer Sey gave us a call when she wanted to leave Levi’s—and we were honored to publish her powerful goodbye. When Solveig Gold wanted to defend her husband, Princeton Professor Joshua Katz, she came to Common Sense. Pano Kanelos, the former head of St. John’s College, decided to make his exciting announcement about starting new university not in the legacy press, but right here.
We have done groundbreaking reporting on the ideological takeover of Hollywood, schools, medicine and the law—and explained the implications for all of us. In our pages, Dr. Marty Makary and Dr. Tracy Hoeg gave voice to the doctors and scientists inside the NIH, FDA, and CDC who are alarmed at the direction of those institutions. Maria Avdeeva brought us into her world with a dispatch from a Ukranian wedding under threat of Russian bombs. Suzy Weiss cracked open the story of David Sabatini, a world-renowned cancer researcher who was pushed out of MIT. Katherine Boyle made the case for American seriousness. And every Friday in TGIF, Nellie makes the case for American humor.
A year ago, we leapt off the page and into your ears with our podcast, Honestly. The show has more than 14.5 million downloads, and I think it’s safe to say that we are the only podcast in the country that’s hosted Kim Kardashian, Liz Cheney, and Larry Summers. We’ve also done important investigations, like revisiting the real story behind the Central Park Karen, deep dives into China’s global ambitions, and debates about foreign policy and the sexual revolution.
We know how much you appreciate the work we are doing. We can see it in the data. Also, you share our stories with your friends, post them on social media, and discuss them in your family group chats. So many of you write to tell us what our work means to you personally. We read every single note.
But our stories don’t just have an impact on our community. They have an impact on the world at large.
Let me give you a few examples.
When we interviewed South Carolina Senator Tim Scott on Honestly, we made news about the time a New York Times op-ed editor instructed a colleague to check in with Senator Chuck Schumer before running an op-ed by Sen. Scott. The story had legs: It was picked up by The Drudge Report, The New York Post, The Daily Mail, and more. Then, the National Review backed up our reporting, pushing the story forward.
A few days later, the column I wrote in the wake of the attack on Salman Rushdie was picked up by The Times of London. Then it was translated into German by Die Welt and into French by Le Point.
It’s not just mentions and reprints.
Abigail Shrier broke open the story about doctors questioning the new orthodoxy surrounding “gender-affirming” care for young people. Her reporting was followed by The Economist, and then by The New York Times. Most importantly, she anticipated by many months the closure of the Tavistock gender clinic, in London, and the much more robust debate we are beginning to see around this topic.
When Rupa Subramanya got her hands on previously unsealed court documents showing that the Canadian government had imposed a Covid travel mandate without taking into account scientific data, she came to Common Sense with the story. Since then, that story has not only been picked up by mainstream Canadian media outlets, but also cited in Parliament.
This is the kind of impact that we’re making. And it’s the impact that you’re enabling us to make by subscribing.
If you open our emails and read our stories, you know what makes us different: We’re unowned. We’re unafraid. And we respect you enough to tell you about the world as we see it, not just how we’re supposed to.
So—and here’s the ask—if you believe in what we’re doing, don’t just tell us. Support us. Help us ensure that Common Sense remains strong and continues to expand by becoming a paid subscriber today:
When you pay us $5 a month that money goes directly to paying the salaries of our growing team of reporters, columnists, editors, and fact-checkers. If you care about changing the narrative and changing the culture, we can’t think of a more worthwhile investment.
Common Sense is just the beginning of what we are building. We are so excited to have you in our corner.
P.S. We love hearing from you. Please keep the feedback coming: firstname.lastname@example.org