This is the first issue under the new twice-monthly publication schedule of The Progressive Populist. It also marks our fourth anniversary as the independent Journal from the Heartland, which believes people are more important than corporations.
We are proud and gratified to have survived this long. Of course, we couldn't have made it this far without your support. Our paid circulation has grown slowly but steadily to more than 3,000. Our readership is broad-ranging, from lefty activists to industrial workers to farmers to small business managers to conservatives who share our concern about the growth of corporate power. We realize that our humble tabloid newspaper pales when compared with the slick titles in the Time-Warner stable, for example, whose editors probably spend more on paper clips than we spend on our entire publishing budget, but when it comes to speaking truth to power, we think we've got those dandies beat 10 ways to Sunday.
We hope to have 5,000 subscribers within the next year. With a little luck and some well-targeted sample copies we ought to be able to reach or exceed that goal. You can help: Send a gift subscription to a friend, a relative or your local public library for only $20 each. Those of you who can't afford to buy a gift subscription, if you just call toll-free 1-800-205-7067 and give us the names and addresses of likely potential subscribers (and maybe put in a good word for us with those friends), that also would help.
In the meantime, we're limited only by our resources. Still, that can seem like a pretty major limitation when we sometimes have to scramble to come up with the cash to pay the postmaster. Unlike Disney, Fox, Time-Warner and the other telecomglomerates, we don't have "synergy." We're lucky to have a credit card. We do have a beat-up 30-year-old Harris web press. My brothers and I pitched in to buy the press to print the Storm Lake, Iowa, Times, the hometown paper that John and Art started 10 years ago to compete against the local chain-owned paper. So we have freedom of the press -- in this case a mortgaged press that runs OK and holds the colors in register if brother Art the managing editor/pressman holds his tongue just right. But that's enough to give us the right -- as long as we can come up with the cash to pay for the newsprint and the note to the bank -- to keep on printing and raising Hell.
So far the change to twice-monthly publication has been pretty well received. Our subscription renewal rate has held steady since we announced the change this past June. Your vote of confidence is encouraging, and we're ready to give you a double dose of your favorite writers, including Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, Alexander Cockburn, Norman Solomon, Russell Mokhiber/Robert Weissman, Patrisia Gonzales/Roberto Rodriguez and most of our other featured writers, as well as the cartoons of Clay Bennett and Dan Perkins. We also hope the more frequent publishing schedule will allow us to provide more timely news.
That's not to say everybody is happy with the change. Some of our readers complain that it is all they can do to get through The Progressive Populist once a month; they fear they don't have the time to plow through it twice a month. We're sorry if you feel we're pushing more of it at you; all we can advise those of you who don't care for more than one of our text-rich issues a month is to give the odd paper to your neighbor. That way both of you still will be better informed. Or leave it at the barber shop and educate the community.
We will continue to report not just on what is wrong, but also on what people can do to improve their communities, rebuild democracy and make corporations as well as government accountable to the people. We still aim to make The Progressive Populist the antidote to the monopolistic daily news, throw a lifeline to progressives who feel like they are stranded in a sea of "conservatives," provide facts to throw back at politicians and right-wing talk radio gasbags and maybe play a role in reviving political debate while we continue to deflate pompous plutocrats. We're all in this together. Now twice monthly.
JIM CULLEN, editor