Help: we’re a nonprofit

“Read 40 Papers for as little as $10 a month—become a friend of Sightline today!” says a solicitation for money from an environmental organization in the Pacific NorthWest. The email from Sightline Institute goes on:

“I’m writing to you today because Sightline Daily needs your help. Your Sightline Daily editors get up at 5am every morning and—with the help of a big pot of coffee—read more than 40 papers to find the best economic, social, and environmental news from around the region. We distill it down to the top ten stories and deliver it right to your inbox. The problem is we can’t keep it up without your support. We’re a nonprofit so we rely on our donors to keep our editors clipping and bloggers blogging.

Sightline, like many blog “editors,” seems unaware of the irony of asking readers for money to clip, for free, from professional journalism. To its credit Sightline directs readers to the media Web sites of the stories it selects; the chosen web sites benefit from increased readership. Too many other blogs rip and post wholesale — or, put plainly, steal. But the sad reality is, without financial support of their own, journalists can’t keep providing any bloggers with free fodder. Several of the papers Sightline clips are more immediately threatened than most endangered species.