When we decided to run Tuesday's cover feature "Iraq: The Unseen War," we anticipated criticism, even from some supporters, for showing the graphic and disturbing war photos that most other media have avoided. Instead, the positive response has been overwhelming, and heartening. I especially liked this letter from Salon Premium member Christopher Hull in Bedford, Texas:
"Today's report is why I am a Premium subscriber to Salon. And reporting like it is why I'll renew. And it's also why I tell people of conscience who I know that they also should support Salon." Mr. Hull inspired me: Because I'm particularly proud of our Iraq reporting, I wanted to make a special pitch to our readers to join Salon Premium and support risk-taking, adventurous journalism.
In the last few weeks alone, we've broken some amazing stories. Phillip Robertson tracked down the American soldier who killed Iraqi journalist Yassir Salihee, a piece that the editor of Editor & Publisher magazine praised as "one of the most remarkable stories of the Iraq war." (Watch for another riveting dispatch from Robertson later this week.) In response to Mark Benjamin's exposé of the way the Pentagon is trying to crack down on the rising number of Iraq vets claiming post-traumatic stress disorder, Sen. Barack Obama wrote to the Department of Veterans Affairs citing our report and complaining about the new reclassification effort. Last week Rush Limbaugh blasted us -- well, me -- for defending the antiwar activism of Cindy Sheehan, and I debated Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney about Sheehan's importance on "The News Hour With Jim Lehrer." And then on Tuesday, we brought you something you truly couldn't find anywhere else -- stunning Iraq war photos that other media won't show.
We think stories like these make a Salon membership more important than ever. I know that many of you read us daily via our convenient advertising-sponsored site pass -- and most of you will continue to do so. But we count on a robust membership community to make our risky investigative reporting possible. Premium members are our most loyal readers our user data shows us that members read us far more frequently and avidly than readers who arent members. Your readership and membership are crucial to our survival.
Membership also gets you access to our pioneer online community, Table Talk. All last week I kept checking the Cindy Sheehan thread, where developments at Camp Casey unfolded faster than I could find them on the news. Although I read e-mail letters to the editor, in Table Talk there's an entire thread devoted to giving me feedback -- praise and criticism -- where I check in several times a week.
Membership also gets you access to events with Salon editors and writers (look for an expanded fall roster of parties coming soon). You'll be the first to preview our impending redesign -- and give us feedback! And later this year we'll be unrolling some new Premium-only features to help members find and interact with one another.
You may not know that Salon continues to support the troops by providing a free Salon Premium membership to anyone with a military e-mail address. If you're a member of the military, it's as easy as signing up here. If you know of a soldier who may like to sign up, please pass along this url to him or her, https://sub.salon.com/mil/.
If you are already a Salon Premium member, you can give a gift to a member of the military or a friend instead. Maybe you know someone who needs our clear-eyed reporting on the war. Salon Premium members can give gift memberships at a discount, or become a Salon Premium member today if you are not already one.
Thank you for your continuing support and thank you for reading Salon.