Influential political writer Andrew Sullivan is cutting ties with The Daily Beast in favor of asking readers to pay for access to his blog The Dish. In a post on The Daily Beast, Sullivan announced that starting on February 1st, he will no longer partner with larger media sites or host advertisements; instead, he will sell subscriptions to andrewsullivan.com for $19.99 a year and accept larger donations. "If this model works," he writes, "we'll have proof of principle that a small group of writers and editors can be paid directly by readers, and that an independent site, if tended to diligently, can grow an audience large enough to sustain it indefinitely."
Sullivan's blog, which now has a staff of seven and has been running since 2000, sustained itself on pledge drives before partnering with Time in 2006. It later moved through The Atlantic and then to The Daily Beast, itself a partner of Newsweek. Newsweek ended its print run last week, and the loss of Sullivan is another blow to the group.
"We'll have proof of principle that a small group of writers and editors can be paid directly by readers."
The Dish, meanwhile, will follow in the footsteps of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other subscription-based media outlets — like them, it will allow a certain number of free articles and will not put up a paywall for readers coming from other blogs. Unlike those sites, however, it will have neither advertising nor a print version to fall back on. Instead, Sullivan hopes that readers will support a blog that forgoes the "corporate-dominated web where the promise of a free space becomes co-opted by large and powerful institutions and intrusive advertising algorithms."