What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics. Read in moderation.
Curated by @matt_kiser

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Invest in the continued production of WTF Just Happened Today? by becoming a supporting member. Choose from three levels of monthly recurring membership:

As an alternative, you can also support WTFJHT annually at $50/yr and $100/yr.

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Just want to make a one-time contribution? While the recurring memberships above are preferred, I'm happy to accommodate four different one-time contribution options at $25, $50, $100, and $200.

Or, use either PayPal or Venmo (@WTFJHT) to contribute any amount you want one-time.

Here's the deal: This is my job and I plan to keep doing this for as long as you keep supporting me. So, if you find my work valuable and find yourself relying on what I do, please consider becoming a supporting member so I can continue to tell you wtf just happened today.

I started this project to keep track of an impossible news cycle. It was a personal challenge to become a better consumer of political news. As it turns out, a lot of other people also wanted to be better news consumers. So here we are.

My goal has always been to earn enough to earn a living wage so I can keep writing and reporting WTF Just Happened Today?. To do that, we need to make sure WTFJHT is a sustainable member-funded project. That means covering all the costs associated with hosting, email delivery, site search, the community forum, web development, "salary," health insurance, the podcast, and more.

As a reminder, WTFJHT is 100% free, but supported entirely by your optional contributions. No ads, no sponsorships. It's why I try to be as transparent as possible about this process, in part because of my own reluctance to ask, but also my own ethos about transparency and openness. So here's where we’re at:

  1. <2% of the WTFJHT audience contributes financially
  2. $6.24 is the average monthly contribution per member (normalizing all monthly, annual, and one-time contributions of all amounts to a monthly interval – meaning, a one-time $100 contribution is the equivalent to $8.33/month while a one-time $25 contribution is about $2/month.)
  3. ~5% of members contributing monthly or annually cancel their on-going support at some point (in the biz we call this the "churn rate")
  4. $16,280 is the all-in costs to run WTFJHT per month (here’s the breakdown, if you’re interested) ~8% is the annual increase in operating costs (meaning the cost of running WTFJHT will go up about $1,000 next year)

What this means: We're off from where we need to be to keep WTFJHT sustainable. While it's normal for people to cancel their support over time for various reasons – I totally get it – the difference threatens the viability of this project. To keep WTFJHT sustainable and independent, I need about 200 readers to become new supporting members every year just to keep the books balanced.

Ongoing Stretch Goal: 500 new members annually. Hitting this goal not only makes up the gap in income, but covers the next 18-months of expected member churn, meets the rising costs of running WTFJHT in advance, and ensures fewer membership drives in the future. That’s what I call a win-win-win!

What's the money for? WTF Just Happened Today is a bespoke newsletter, blog, podcast, and community chronicling the daily shock and awe in national politics. It's produced once a day with a newsletter sent out every afternoon, Monday through Thursday. More than 250,000 people rely on WTFJHT for the day's political news in a concise and focused recap. Your financial support is an investment in the continued production of all of the above.

Member benefits. Your optional, but generous support ensures that the following things are actively maintained: The Daily Update, the newsletter, the podcast (available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, RSS), the Alexa Flash Briefing, the community forum, the RSS, Atom, and Apple News feeds, the WTFJHT API, Current Status, and more.

Credit card payments are handled by Memberful with Stripe as the payment processor. Your email address and personal information will never be shared with anyone for any purpose. Period. You will, however, receive occasional emails from myself and Memberful regarding invoices, renewals, and issues related to your credit card or account. Please note that all memberships auto-renew monthly/annually, but can be cancelled at any time. There are no refunds.

Questions or comments? Let me know.

Thanks for your support.

Can't afford to support my work financially? That's okay! Share WTF Just Happened Today with a friend. It's free and has a big impact. Tweet about it, share it on Facebook, or just forward the newsletter to a friend and encourage them to subscribe.

WTFJHT Values and Editorial Policy.

Journalism is a set of ethics based on trust, truthfulness, fairness, integrity, independence, and accountability. WTF Just Happened Today is a reflection of these ethics, but also applies the following standards and practices:

  • Transparency. WTFJHT is open source and hosted as a public GitHub repository. Readers are encouraged to improve WTFJHT by making edit requests to fix grammar, typos, facts, sources, etc., as well as to contribute code.
  • Facts first. WTFJHT isn't partisan. It does not offer commentary, opinion, or analysis. Instead, WTFJHT prioritizes truth over politics, and more specifically the human condition over partisanship. Bias is the byproduct of being a human making decisions about the relative importance of things. Sorry.
  • Reputable sources. I always cite and clearly link to the original source material. Where appropriate, I'll include additional sources to other publications reporting the same or similar information. In both cases, I cite sources that frequently break news via original reporting, which is also routinely and independently confirmed by other sources, which also break original news that is also routinely and independently confirmed. Got that?
  • Clear expectations. The premise is simple: state what happened, what the facts are, and cite the source.
  • No strings attached. There's no business model trickery here. No ads. No paywalls. No selling of data. I have a website and a newsletter, and I'm supported directly by my audience.

Still not convinced? Here's what the smartest people on the Internet are saying about What The Fuck Just Happened Today:

  • "This is the site I’ve been waiting for." –Amy O'Leary, Chief Story Officer and Editorial Director at Upworthy
  • "Single subject, distinct tone, clear formatting, total understanding of what its audience wants. @WTFJHT is the best email newsletter." –Dave Lee, BBC Silicon Valley Reporter
  • "@WTFJHT is a brilliant journalistic response to an urgent civic need." –Jeff Jarvis, Director, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism
  • "Terrific daily digest. Exemplary news curation. Highly recommended." –Mark Potts, Digital Media Entrepreneur

Can I send you a check? Yes! Please make it payable to Matt Kiser (I can't cash checks made out to WTF Just Happened Today). My physical address is: WTF Just Happened Today? 505 Broadway E #211, Seattle, WA 98102 USA

Where's the $1/mo option? Credit card fees on $1 are outrageous and there's nothing I can do about it. About 34% of a $1 pledge goes to the credit card processing companies. That's a lot of wasted money. Compared to a $5 pledge, "only" 10% is lost to fees. If you want to support WTFJHT at the equivalent of $1/mo, I offer a $12/yr option.

How do I login to my membership account? If you're on the Memberful platform (most members are), you can sign-in here. If you're on DonorBox, this is your sign-in page. And, if you're a Patreon member, here you go.

How do I update my credit card? Log in to your account, add your new card and click Update my credit card.

Can I update my email address or other personal information? Yes. Log in to your account here to make these changes.

Does unsubscribing from the newsletter automatically cancel my recurring membership? No. If you'd like to cancel or edit your recurring membership, please use the links provided in your receipt emails (or the appropriate link above) to manage your membership. Because WTFJHT is free but supported by optional contributions, it's not possible to make the assumption that someone unsubscribing from the newsletter also wants to cancel their patronage. In many cases, supporting members do not and have never been newsletter subscribers (e.g. a blog reader or Twitter followers). For these reasons, I provide members with the tools to manage their account at any time for any reason.

How do I cancel my membership? For Memberful members, log in to your account and toggle auto-renew off from the "Subscriptions" menu item.

What happened to the rewards? As much as I like stickers, t-shirts, and pins, I found that I was spending too much time at the post office, as well as spending too much money on physical goods. After speaking with members, it became clear that while physical rewards are nice, the real reward is supporting the continued production of WTF Just Happened Today.

Are you a 501(c)(3)? Is my contribution tax-deductible? No, I'm a for-profit, single-member LLC based in Washington State. There are two reasons for this: 1) this setup makes it easy to manage and keeps my operational overhead low, and 2) I strongly believe media businesses need to be in the business of being in business. Meaning, my ability to fund WTFJHT is a reflection of the value created for the readers. If enough readers don't find WTFJHT valuable enough to pay for, then maybe WTFJHT shouldn't exist anymore.

How much does this thing cost to run anyway? Glad you asked! I did some back of the envelope math and I came up with $16,280/month. That's a conservative estimate, to be honest. If you're interested in how I arrived at that number, I've outlined the cost of running WTFJHT in the FAQ.