July 1, 2019; Daily Beast
The Center for American Progress announced yesterday to staff and the rest of the world that it was putting ThinkProgress, its 14-year-old, progressively oriented news site, up for sale.
While the site is successful in its reach, boasting readership of 7.5 million unique visitors last month alone, it has had a rough year financially, ending its year with a $3 million deficit, Many factors appear to have contributed to that deficit, including downturns in advertising and donations. A deeper dive into the financial dynamics of the site is available here in a June 10, 2019 article on Daily Beast.
But the deficit’s not the only issue. The Daily Beast reports that former employees of ThinkProgress believe that the Center considers the site “too much of an editorial headache and too big a financial drain” to keep going. And Navin Nayak, executive director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action), says that “Events over the last few years have underscored the divergent missions of American Progress and ThinkProgress.”
Nayak has reportedly been relatively open about his disenchantment for some time, warning staff that they should expect action.
This is a tough decision since ThinkProgress has been a part of CAP Action almost since its founding. While ThinkProgress’s financial challenges are unsustainable for an organization like CAP Action, we are hopeful that there are publishers who would be better able to support ThinkProgress’ mission and better positioned to maximize the significant value ThinkProgress has built up.
How long the search for a potential buyer will last, and the fate of the site if none sign up, remain unknown. Any takers on the “sale” would have to love the mission of the site and be willing to invest in it, and that will be the real test.—Ruth McCambridge