Andrew Sullivan, one of the original political bloggers to still be posting regularly, announced today in a note to readers that for him the end has come. Two years ago the former New Republic editor famously turned The Dish into a subscriber site and raised enough money to hire a staff. "When we asked you two years ago to catch us as we jumped into independence, you came through and then some," he writes. "In just two years, you built a million dollar revenue company, with 30,000 subscribers, a million monthly readers, and revenue growth of 17 percent over the first year. You made us unique in this media world – and we were able to avoid the sirens of click." But, he goes on, "there comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen."
Why? Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that….
The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.
I want to spend some real time with my parents, while I still have them, with my husband, who is too often a ‘blog-widow’, my sister and brother, my niece and nephews, and rekindle the friendships that I have simply had to let wither because I’m always tied to the blog. And I want to stay healthy. I’ve had increasing health challenges these past few years. They’re not HIV-related; my doctor tells me they’re simply a result of fifteen years of daily, hourly, always-on-deadline stress. These past few weeks were particularly rough – and finally forced me to get real.
What happens to The Dish without Sullivan is unclear. The site's paywall has been dropped and subscriptions will be terminated, per Gawker. "Don’t get too sentimental there, Sully. Though we’ve occasionally taken issue with your thoughts about things, our screens will grow dimmer without them." Nieman Journalism Lab has a deeper take on Sullivan's place in the blogosphere.