We are hours away from the start of a new year and I find myself, like all of you, thinking of this past year.
I am full of gratitude.
By Monday there will be 300,000 of you who receive this publication in your inbox each day. It’s an amazing number.
Even more meaningful than that number is who you are.
You are all over the world—in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries. You are of every political persuasion: conservatives, libertarians, old-school liberals, disenchanted progressives. I think of you—of us—as the coalition of the sane.
It’s your support—your hunger for independent, honest journalism—that has literally made our work possible.
After I blew up my career at the New York Times, I knew I was done with the legacy media—and it was certainly done with me. Six months later, in January 2021, I wrote my first entry for a newsletter. I called it Common Sense.
I figured a few people would sign up, most of them related to me.
I was wrong.
What I didn’t realize was how many of us there were.
There are untold numbers of people who, over the past few years, noticed that what they were reading didn’t reflect what they were seeing with their own eyes. Who were alarmed to discover that the people who were being paid to tell them about the world as it is were instead telling them about the world as they wished it to be.
These people—you—want to be told the truth even when it’s inconvenient to your politics. You are eager for your own perspectives to be challenged. You want to discuss hard things out loud. You want to seek the truth rather than the comfort of a political team or tribe.
It is because of all of you that my little newsletter slowly grew into a 21st-century newsroom.
Now, we’re a team of full-time editors, reporters, and producers, spread across the country, who regularly break news and drive the conversation. We’ve done it the old-fashioned way: Our growth has been almost entirely word-of-mouth.
Slowly but surely this scrappy team transformed into a sizable start-up. And earlier this month, we gave ourselves a new name: The Free Press.
The Free Press is a media company built on the ideals that were once the bedrock of great American journalism: honesty, doggedness, and fierce independence. We publish investigative stories and provocative commentary about the world as it actually is—with the quality once expected from the legacy press, but with the fearlessness of the new.
We place a special emphasis on subjects and stories that others ignore or misrepresent. We always aim to highlight multiple perspectives on complicated subjects. And we don’t allow ideology to stand in the way of searching for the truth.
We lack some things that traditional newsrooms have. We don’t have fancy headquarters, or an IT department, or a vending machine, though I promise merch is coming.
What we do have are the things that are essential to any newsroom: ambitious journalists, a spirit of collaboration, and devoted readers who support our work. We will be the home—the one address—for the best independent journalism out there.
Over the past year our incomparable group of reporters, editors, and producers have brought you crucially important stories.
This team—spread across the country from New York to L.A. and in small towns in the Midwest and the South—has:
Documented how the ideological takeover of American medicine and the law has endangered our health and our rights; exposed how schools are indoctrinating even our youngest children into a belief that racism is everywhere and that biological sex doesn’t exist; explained how vulnerable teens are being pushed into experimental gender transition, and how our public health scientists failed to “follow the science”; brought you shocking accounts from around the world, including Canada’s new euthanasia laws which allow depressed teens to be killed by the state; taken deep dives into China’s global ambitions and how it is capturing the minds of Americans; given you a new understanding of stories that you thought you knew, but didn’t—like the real story of the Central Park Karen. And every Friday in TGIF, Nellie Bowles summarizes our week with her inimitable wit.
Our podcast, Honestly, has hosted everyone from Kim Kardashian to Bibi Netanyahu and has more than 18 million downloads. Our site has well over a million visits a month.
Other outlets have noticed.
Our work has been cited in The Economist, The New York Times, Canadian Parliament, Reuters, Fox News, and NPR.
Just yesterday, New York Times columnist David Brooks awarded Rupa Subramanya a Sidney Award for her unforgettable essay on the rise of Canada’s assisted suicide program.
Since our launch earlier this month, The Free Press itself has been profiled by Axios, Los Angeles Mag, and Semafor.
A free press for free people.
If that sounds like a mission you believe in—if you value what we’ve been doing and want us to compete with the biggest outlets in the world—please consider becoming a paid subscriber in 2023.
We want our stories available to everyone so we almost never put up a paywall. But if you trust us, if you want our work out there, if you’ve ever felt a sense of relief when reading or listening to our content, please enable us to make more of it by joining for $8 a month right now:
Here’s why we like being a subscriber business: It makes us very hard to cancel.
We took on just enough money from friends and family to launch this. As we grow, we can’t ever have to think twice about the stories we tell because it might upset an investor. The same is true for advertisers. We can work with them, but can’t be dependent on them. The only way for this to succeed is to be employed by you: our readers.
In the coming days we’ll have announcements about perks, including regular events, for paid subscribers. More about that soon.
In the meantime, wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2023.
I am so excited about what we are building here and can’t wait to get back to work.
P.S. If you missed our launch video, we think you’ll love it: