Tom Knapp is the publisher of Rational Review.
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Thoughts on RRND's 100th edition
Wow. No, really! Wow. Tonight -- after I write this but probably before you read it -- I'll be putting the 100th issue of Rational Review News Digest together. Not just the 100th issue, but the 100th consecutive issue. RRND has been published, every weekday except holidays, without interruption, since we decided to go ahead with it.
We started off small -- 10 news articles and 10 commentaries each day -- but we quickly worked up to a normal inventory of 20 of each. Last month, we added a "movement news and events" section. Averaged out, over the course of our run so far, we've probably brought our readers an average of 35 stories each day.
3,500 articles under the bridge. That's a lot of material, isn't it?
We've covered the changeover of Senate leadership, a war in Iraq, the War on Drugs, a foofooraw over all-male golf courses, the (hopeful) death of Total Information Awareness, the conception of PATRIOT II, the general strike in Venezuela, the quagmire of Afghanistan, the Irish and Israeli "peace processes," the overturn of the Tulia convictions, the railroading of Ed Rosenthal, the birth -- and death -- of the latest non-existent GOP "tax cut," the arming of pilots, the disarming of American citizens (and a lot of the stories that prove that's a really, really bad idea) ...
We've covered commentary from just about every angle, too. Libertarian, of course, including fine material from writers like L. Neil Smith, Ilana Mercer, Tibor Machan, Jacob G. Hornberger, Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo, Alan Bock, Brad Spangler, Jacob Sullum, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell ... heck, I'm going to stop naming names before I overrun our server's disk quota. But not just orthodox libertarian stuff. We've also carried commentaries from the left (Salon, Slate, Mother Jones, The Nation, Village Voice) and the right (Town Hall, FrontPageMag, The American Conservative, Ether Zone, WorldNetDaily), and from authors and sources which defy categorization.
I'm sure we've missed some stories. But I think we've done a pretty damn good job, over the course of our first 100 editions, of bringing our readers the most timely and important news coverage, and most comprehensive package of editorial perspectives, on the things that affect freedom in the US and around the world.
"We," of course, being the four rugged individualists who manage to work together as a team to make RRND happen, five days a week, week in and week out. The idea was, I think, mine -- but it took R. Lee Wrights, Steve Trinward and Mary Lou Seymour to make it happen, on three days notice and with no idea of whether it could succeed or not. And two other particularly rugged individualists -- L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser -- who, along with Lee, Steve and Mary Lou, make the 'zine side of Rational Review the premier web journal of libertarian news and commentary on politics and culture.
And yay, you ... the 2,096 readers who, as I write this, constitute RRND's email subscription roster and the 200 or so who visit us each day on the web. Including, of course, the many of you who have contributed to make it possible for us to bring you RRND.
For those of you who haven't ... are you convinced yet? Early on, one of our major contributors expressed his overriding concern: he wanted to support a good thing, but he didn't want to throw money at something that wasn't going to survive. I told him that we were going to stick it out, and he believed me. I think that was about 60 editions ago.
One hundred editions is just the start, constant reader. We've warmed up with a lap around the track. Now we're limber and in good form for the marathon. I'd like to share with you some of the progress we're making here at Rational Review:
We're here to stay, and it just gets better from here on out. But, as usual, the fly in the ointment is money.
Once again, I must ask: are you convinced yet? Are Rational Review, its editors, and RRND worthy of your financial support? Have we proven that we're not fly-by-night artists, but instead a team of competent individuals who deliver? If so, please take the time to kick in. You can support our individual editors, or Rational Review in general, here. If you'd like to target that support to RRND, we have donation links on our news page, and we offer some very nice premiums to our larger donors and to those who choose to commit to a small monthly donation. In the near future -- the very near future, maybe even by the time you read this -- we'll be accepting StormPay, in addition to PayPal, E-Gold and Amazon.Com's Honor System.
As I've mentioned before (the numbers change as circulation rises) if each RRND subscriber kicked in $23.85 a year, or if each of Rational Review's 11,000 monthly readers ponied up $4.55 per year, or some combination thereof, we'd be well set to not only continue, but expand, our operations here ... and I'd get to spend less time and bandwidth asking for money.
But enough of that. As I said at the beginning of this piece ... wow. One. Hundred. Editions. Yay us, yay you, yay Rational Review. Thanks for making the journey with us.
May 7, 2003