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Award-Winning Nautilus Enters Rough Waters (undark.org)
254 points by r721 on Apr 29, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 96 comments

I do sympathise with Nautilus and want them to succeed. But I am a freelancer who has not been paid by them for eight months now. A longform piece takes weeks to write. Interviewees gave their time so generously to me. And I was ridiculously excited to write for a publication I respected so much.

I had no idea that nautilus were still commissioning features when they knew they had no guaranteed income stream to pay their writers.

When nautilus ran into serious financial trouble they did not publish many of the articles they had commissioned, mine included - this meant that they would only have to offer a much smaller kill fee for these unpublished pieces. I am waiting for this fee (and am aware of several others writers in this situation). But we didn't know the pieces would never be published. We were never told. Instead the promised nautilus issue emerged that day, we told our friends, we scanned the pages with genuine excitement, and our features were absolutely nowhere to be seen.

Emails to the editor (naive, perfectly friendly emails) went unanswered for weeks.

I actually honestly wouldn't have minded as much if they were up front last year and said look, we just don't have the money, we messed up, we're sorry. They're a publication I truly want to survive regardless of my input.

But I'm a freelancer and that promised money was going to see me through Christmas. They should not have been actively commissioning when they did not have the means to pay. It was also really humiliating to email them for weeks to ask where our articles had gone. Why not reply honestly to us at the outset?

Christmas came and went. I couldn't afford presents for my family. I lost the chance to submit elsewhere because it was a time-sensitive piece. I had to apologise to my interviewees who I bet won't be so generous with their time the next time a writer approaches them. They've been burnt, too.

And even now (in the last week) nautilus have told me they're about to merge with AAAS and so we'll all get paid. But it's clear from the Undark piece that this is not true.

Sometimes magazines run into problems. I get that. I feel bad about it. But then don't commission pieces when you know there's no money to pay freelancers whose livelihoods depend on each and every word they write. We actually get paid by the word! Don't humiliate writers by making them beg for checks for weeks of work. And don't promise a merger is imminent with a big science institution when that big science institution will deny it. Good on Undark for this piece. And congratulations to the many fantastic science magazines who do the industry proud.

One of the problems is that they're shipping dead trees. No way is this economically sustainable these days. They should have gone all digital and raised their prices long ago.

Let's do some math - how many subscribers do they need to break even if they pare down staff, go all digital, and raise their price a bit? Hand-wavy numbers for minimal viable staffing, but should be order of magnitude correct:

  $ 600,000 Freelancers, $5K per article, 20 articles/issue, 6 issues/year
  $ 200,000 2 editorial
  $ 100,000 1 marketing person, online marketing savvy
  $ 100,000 2 support staff (clerical, PA, etc)
  $ 200,000 2 management/fundraising/operations staff
  $ 100,000 1 webmaster/IT person
  $ 100,000 outsourced services (HR, payroll, website hosting, etc)
$1,400,000 annual burn rate assuming a minimal staff to run just the online magazine and dump print (I acknowledge they have other expenses, but let's ignore them for now)

If you charge $60 for an annual subscription - very reasonable for the content - they would need 23333.33 subscribers to break even.

They got $1.2 million last year in grants, some $9.5 million in funding since 2012. If they can't manage to attract 24K subscribers with that kind of funding they don't deserve to stay in business no matter how good their content is.

I love their content, but they need somebody who knows how to run a business to be in charge.

This may be the most Hacker News comment I've ever seen.

There are some sectors of the magazine industry, maybe science isn't one of them, that are actually doing really well. I've been on three different junkets with outdoors magazine editors in the past 6 months, and many large brands that advertise to the Duck Dynasty crowd are abandoning digital and going back to print.

Digital, it turns out, is mostly a scam. I've written in other places about why this is, but the nutshell version is bad ROI metrics and, even worse, the incentives on all sides are so perverted that the bad metrics and rampant fraud are a fundamental structural/business problem that no amount of tech can solve.

At any rate, the jig is, increasingly, up on digital (FB and Google excepted, because they run genuine performance advertising platforms at a scale that nobody else can match), and advertisers are actually going back to print, TV, radio -- venues where the ROI metrics are old, established, widely agreed upon, and fairly reliable.

Anyway, this situation is very complex and very very very different from what the typical HN "dead tree is expensive and for losers, the future is digital!" commenter thinks. If anything is in real trouble right now for deep structural reasons, it's digital, not print.

You probably find all this hard to believe -- I did at first until I heard it confirmed by the sixth or seventh person. I know that what I just said sounds like "up is down, and black is white", but this is how it is in 2017.

Great point. I've always been puzzled about how advertisers get any ROI online. I'm a very heavy internet user on a variety of topical areas, and my lifetime value for a content site is zero. Exceptions are NY Times, my local paper and Gartner, where either my employer or I pay for the content.

I rarely click on ads. I've probably been a successful ad conversion less than a dozen times since 1996.

Print is different. Getting ads is a significant reason for having a newspaper subscription. Many magazine ads are both more useful and more effective than the ad units that you se online. I probably made a Nikon/Canon decision based on a combination of print ads.

Also, some of the print ads in nautilus aren't that bad. I've actually stopped and taken some extra time to think about a few. Less about what the ads trying to sell me, but the ad itself raises an interesting question.

> Anyway, this situation is very complex and very very very different from what the typical HN "dead tree is expensive and for losers, the future is digital!" commenter thinks. If anything is in real trouble right now for deep structural reasons, it's digital, not print.

Somehow TapeOp magazine manages to deliver ~41.5K free print subscriptions every other month, at least in the US (digital subscription is included).

TapeOp has advertising, not sure if editor/publisher draw a salary, and I'm guessing that freelance interviewers/product reviewers get paid little if anything. Nonetheless, they've been the most kickass music production/recording magazine for more than 20 years.

Some info on how they do it: http://tapeop.com/mediakit/print/

Doesn't this whole counter-comment assume that advertising is the only reasonable source of revenue? The HN crowd (projecting from myself) has already given up on digital advertising and knows that even the best players are having a hard time making money with it. That doesn't make print any more reliable. For a magazine like nautilus, it's probably best to become successful as a subscription-based digital magazine, guarantee high-quality content, establish rapport with their customers, and then move to print if they want to rake in that extra advertisement dollars. That was the point of the parent comment, not "print sucks/digital rules!", but "digital is the right way to start a new magazine".

I really like print magazines...I have a print subscription to the New Yorker, New York Magazine and the Sunday NYTimes. The serendipitous discovery of interesting content, the ability to just grab it on the way out the door and the paper format make for a great experience.

I think print based reading material will have a place for longer than most people would have predicted a few years ago.

Digital is definitely going through a much needed adjustment, but old media is not coming back. It is stabilizing after suffering a huge blow but wont grow back. Too much new media entertainment is coming out to have old media compete.

For corroboration, check the begging notes at the bottom of Guardian articles and the recent enhancements of the NYT paywall.

The begging is just so they can get free money. They know their audience are a bunch of saps. It is greed more than desperation.

After seeing this, I was reminded I forgot and let my sub lapse.

I go to their site to subscribe, and they are selling a year of the print & digital for $29. That's insane -- they don't even add on postage fees anywhere in the checkout process. It's literally $29, out the door.

I signed up for 2 years and just hope they are around for that time. I can't believe the direct costs of printing and shipping such a beautiful magazine don't exceed $5 per issue (12 issues over 2 years for $60).

Maybe they have found how price sensitive consumers are for their content, or maybe they know they can get higher ad rates with more print, but I don't see how they're even covering their costs for printing and shipping this to me, much less content or editorial staff, etc.

> I can't believe the direct costs of printing and shipping such a beautiful magazine don't exceed $5 per issue

A few Quora answers put the cost of printing a typical magazine at less than $1 per copy. Magazines have a special postage rate that's cheaper than a single first class stamp. That means printing and sending the print magazine could cost just about half of what you're paying for the subscription, leaving the other half to pay for the content and overhead.

Nautilus' print edition is a beautiful magazine, definitely can't be compared to a typical print mag. It's the quality of a National Geo mag, I think.

>It's literally $29, out the door.

Yeah I didn't really get that. I kept looking for a * somewhere to indicate that it's $29 monthly. I'd have no problem doing monthly. $29 out the door is absolutely insane.

Note that the price is a special limited offer sale. It's normally $59/year. And it's only 6 issues per year.

But look, there's a bigger problem here. Maybe they can't get 34k subscribers because it's hard to get people to cough up $60 a year, have all their subscription data resold yadda yadda.

You say the problem is dead-tree publishing but I don't think the additional layout and printing costs are so much bigger than what you've outlined above. They're trying to cut costs by not paying the people who actually produce the content (as opposed to those who package it through the editorial function); their other alternative is to produce more popular content that would attract more ad revenue, but that would mean a loss of quality because markets don't always reward quality.

This is, literally, why we can't have nice things.

Capitalism is why we can't have nice things in the first place. Capitalism precludes news media from reporting fairly and accurately rather than pander to their advertisers. Another example: want cheap fast internet? Too expensive to run fibre even though these corporations are making profits that run into billions and none of the US giants will have this so-called "common carrier" policy.

It's not "capitalism", it's human nature. We like cheap stuff. And the bystander effect. It's free online, so someone else will surely solve it, pay for it, fund it, support it, etc.

Yes, it is to do with "capitalism" and the product of a society geared towards making money instead of making cool stuff. It isn't immutable, there are better ways of doing things, but then again that's beyond the scope of the argument. :^)

No, it's not. Capitalism is private ownership of capital, which means there's a whole lot of economic activity generated by thinking about what to invest in, which is just a blind optimization process.

Society could harness it for good or bad. We have cheap applied science things (microprocessors with radios and amazing magically touch sensitive displays without ugly cords with endless content and ability to just call each other anywhere* on the planet), and we have of course things like the great firewall of china (and turkey and so on) which do deep packet inspection, enabled by very similar technology companies.

But it's immutable. You can't choose the second best thing. Because that just means your preferences and thus your utility function values underdogs above topdogs, hence you'll see those as the best. It's just tautological. And sure, we'll probably climb out of this hole eventually, but maybe with things like patreon and co: http://alternativeto.net/software/patreon/ (for example AdBlock + Flattr seems like a good solution to the advertising hell)

Furthermore, just to talk about the original point of "capitalism is killing quality news" ... are you sure? I mean there are still quality news outlets, and there will be, but the problem is that people don't read them. And bias. Even if you could sign up to be a journalist and magically get a fixed income if at least 10 000 people are reading your stuff, there would be a lot more crazy/spam out there. _Because_ people are people, they cheat, they like easy solutions, they are greedy. They prefer easy explanations, they prefer silver bullets, they prefer gods and guns for law and order even if we know that education and equality is the answer.

Capitalism is exactly why you have nice things. Someone figures out what people want, how much they will pay, and then they go about providing it. Others catch on and compete and everyone benefits.

What is happening here is that too many bench warmers are trying to make excuses for why there are enough subscribers to the site. After all, all these people how can't they get a paltry 25k.

Simple, not that many people really know about their site and of those apparently the bulk just don't care. Maybe the content isn't really that interesting. Call a spade a spade.

then throw in, there is just such a wealth of information out there that it is easy to get lost and any one trying to sell stuff is going to have to work very hard to get noticed and even harder to make the sell.

Greed doesn't require capitalism, it occurs about any place where someone has stuff other people don't and where government leadership plays off the feelings of jealousy, income differences, and racial differences. Greed requires politicians who are more quite capable of telling you someone else has stuff you don't have and it is not fair or that you deserve stuff for free... provided you vote for them

Corporatism, not capitalism.

What's the difference? Capitalism is always going to end up with consolidation, monopolisation and anti-user practices.

Capitalism is all about competition.

The magic of capitalism is happening in China right now. You have hundreds of manufacturers making everything, driving prices down.

In the US, we're more like a command economy in many ways. We have these huge sectors like healthcare and defense that are 100% top down procurement and probably represent 30% of the economy. Another 8% of the economy is financial services, which is mostly a small cartel with direct government supports.

The telecom situation is the same thing. The corporate idiots bake out risks and the US turns into a dinosaur. Lots of real innovation will start happening in Asia.

There is no way I would pay anywhere close to 120$ per year for a digital magazine. The magazine is a beautifully printed with amazing illustrations on premium paper. Looking at them on a tiny screen would suck.

Indeed, I got a lifetime digital subscription when they offered them. They probably shouldn't have made it lifetime, they should have made it 3 years or something reasonably generous instead of outrageously generous.

Looks like the lifetime prime digital subscription[1] is back for $99. Just signed up. Hope this will help bridge the funding gap and help them pay their backlogged freelancer invoices.

[1] http://shop.nautil.us/lifetime-prime-membership/

You can't charge that for a digital version though. This is one of the very problems. The perception would be that they are simply competing with every other free blog out there filled with content.

I have only heard of one person who made it work with a reasonable margin and that is Maria Popovo from http://www.Brainpickings.org but she is an anomaly.

You are exactly right. This seems like the kind of thing we they need to run more linear with their growth instead the normal "just get traction and monetize later" plan. The big challenge is what if you can never get the monetization to work then your burn just kills you and you have to shut it down. Additionally for journalism, there is no mega corp to come along and buy your users up to bail you out.

This is a real shame. Nautilus is without a doubt the most consistently interesting and high-quality publication I read. I have just renewed my Prime membership, and hope others do the same. (Or that they get the investment they need and deserve.)

I did the same a few weeks ago, but mostly because I realized "I read a lot of Nautilus articles through HN, and every one has been excellent."

A subscription isn't that expensive, and part of making the world you want to live in (one with greater scientific literacy) is putting your money where your mouth is...

I just subscribed, and hope they do whatever it will take to fix their operations-and-author-mismanagement issues.

FWIW, you can also donate at: http://www.nautilusthink.org/donate

One thing that's a bit weird is that the donate link is not over SSL (and it says Powered by Stripe).

Perhaps it's changed, but right now that page just collects your donation amount and redirects you to an (SSL-protected) paypal page where you provide the actual payment details.

I suppose the first page might leak the amount of your donation, but nothing that's very sensitive.

After enjoying the articles linked to from here for years I finally subscribed to their print version. Will probably also subscribe to The Atlantic, since I've been enjoying the articles there linked from HN as well.

> Or that they get the investment they need and deserve.

From what is said in the article, they are getting the investment that they need, but things are moving slowly. I don't know how true that is, but I want to believe.

Did the same a few weeks ago, too. They deserve it, for sure

I used to be a subscriber to Nautilus and initially loved their work. Over time however I've drifted away primarily because I've come to feel a lot of their articles are popularisations of the the sort of low quality "science" you see regularly make its way to HN (before getting ripped apart in the comments). Specifically, articles based on non-reproducible, low N, p-hacked studies from fields like psychology, social science, neuroscience, etc.

As the replication crisis wreaks havoc and meta-studies continue to reveal major structural issues with work in these fields, I just can't bring myself to read Nautilus anymore.

Most of the comments here are positive (from my limited reading, I like Nautilus too, no affiliation). I'm just curious - can you give a few examples of the articles you didn't like?

>Steele, a former television journalist, started Nautilus in 2012 with a two-year, $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based philanthropy that describes itself as targeting the world’s “big questions” in science, religion, and philosophy. That money, supplemented with an additional $2.1 million from Templeton, was the main funding source for Nautilus in the run-up to publication, and during its first two years in print. But the Templeton Foundation typically reduces support for startup ventures after the first three years, and, accordingly, it has dialed back funding for Nautilus, although it gave the magazine an additional $1.25 million in 2015, and a little more than $1.2 million last year.

Another business wholly dependent on investor patronage.

We need to examine how we can continue to crowdsource legitimate cultural and creative endeavors. It seems that we're backpedaling to a medieval system, where science and art could only be done when bankrolled by a wealthy patron, whom the scientist/artist would have to accommodate if they expected the patronage to continue. [The dependence on corporate sponsors is really a form of this too, and as paying subscribers have evaporated, these have become ever-more-crucial.]

Stringent copyright regimes have only brought us heavily sanitized, commercialized, vacuous media. I would argue loosening this would benefit most small writers and publishers. At the very least, limiting copyright terms and keeping some culturally relevant icons in the public domain would be a huge boon. For example, imagine if someone besides Disney could benefit commercially from the Star Wars franchise, which was originally released 40 years ago. Isn't that long enough for its creators to have had exclusive control?

Something like a web-based micropayment service that dispensed monies based on time spent reading/enjoying would be useful, but it's hard to get everyone on board. I know there have been a couple of HN'ers who've made a pass at it, but to this point, nothing has stuck.

There should be a physical graveyard devoted enterprises that have attempted to solve this problem. I agree with you, but I'm not holding my breath.

Just canceled my NYT membership and subscribed to the print edition of Nautilus. A few months ago I went to the NYT homepage and every top article had "Trump" somewhere in the title. I have a threshold for how much political blather I can stand, and Nautilus is like a breath of fresh air from that.

As much as I can't stand it either, Trump is the president of the US, and making a lot of waves. It's not surprising that he is dominating the news, and it's not just "political blather".

The Economist provides a pretty good mix. I subscribe to it, the NYT, and the New Yorker. I probably won't renew my NYT subscription as I find myself reading it much less often since I picked up The Economist subscription.

What I'd really like though is to support one or two major publications and then have a slush fund where I could pay per article to other sources.

I don't know... does HN have enough readership where it could collect funds and redistribute? It's my primary source of reading random material.

I tend to rotate through. The Economist is excellent, but gets a little boring. If you read it for a year, you basically know exactly what they will say about everything for the next 2-4 years. :) Foreign Affairs is worth checking out if you like the economist. There's a few other journal-like magazines in big bookstores worth checking out.

NYT is like NPR -- high quality reporting, but they beat you over the head with a stick to get across whatever broader point they have. It gets a little ponderous. The secret of the NYT is that you escape that crap by turning the page... the features are a treasure. I've been hooked to Science Times since second grade. They have stuff on art, books, etc... that's why you subscribe. The news is a commodity.

Check out Blendle.com. I haven't used them much recently, but I enjoyed paying for quality journalism per article. There is (or was) an HN sign up promo somewhere

I don't think this for-article model is a good one. It turns journalism into piecework, and while there's the opportunity to strike gold and get lucky with a particularly timely or well-received piece, it also tends to prioritize quantity over quality because the former yields more predictable rewards.

Hmmm. Publications have always had a mix of both subscriptions and newsstand sales. Pay per article is just a more granular version of that.

Unfortunately I can't afford all the different publications that might have an interesting article from time to time, but it seems like it would be their loss if they completely paywalled everything off.

Maybe something more like gym memberships would work where you could purchase say a 10-article "punchcard" or a subscription.

It might be too granular.

One of the things I like about print magazines (and newspapers) is the serendipity--you read something that wouldn't normally grab your attention because it's on the next page and...you've already paid for it, after all.

Paying per article seems like it would push people only to read things that they're sure they'll enjoy (based on the author, title, etc).

True, but I already have more than I can read. You could always let readers make the decision to pay after reading, with maybe a reasonable limit.

I do too, but...here I am.

I wonder if an opt-out payment scheme would work: you authorize the site to bill you up to (say) $5/month. When you finish reading an article, the site deducts $0.25 from your account unless you take some simple action. If your account is empty, you read for free until the next month, and maybe some "proud support/well read" flair or something.

It does put a limit on the site's monthly revenue, but perhaps ensuring that readers feel like they're getting what they paid for helps make up for that.

It has nothing to do with Trump in particular — it's that they pick a topic and just drive it into the ground with the same news rehashed in eight different ways.

The problem is that every third sentence out of the president's mouth is so disconnected from reality that it boggles the mind. If Obama, Bush, or Clinton had said even a few of the things that Trump has it would have made headlines for weeks. Every last drop of it is newsworthy, but in all it's become a flood.

While I don't disagree, at this point it's not news that the President says things which are not based in reality. I'd rather they just publish a piece every month to gather them up for those interested and publish more articles focused on what he actually did than what he said because frankly he doesn't really follow through on what he says anyway.

If anything I feel like the focus on what he says is just distracting people from the more important news which is what he's doing.

Could you provide an example? That's not my experience, but maybe we are looking at different parts of the site.

I just signed up for Nautilus prime after reading this. http://shop.nautil.us

I had already taken out a subscription a few days ago after reading the Cormac McCarthy piece. My immediate reaction was to cancel my subscription and explain why (I have been a freelance teacher in the past and had to chivvy for payment) but I am now thinking it over.

Perhaps we should monitor the quality of the articles closely.

Me too! I've always been incredibly impressed by the quality of their publications.

> started Nautilus in 2012 with a two-year, $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation

That's very interesting and important. I know the Templeton Foundation as funders of 'research' into creationism. Richard Dawkins, for example, is apparently a critic of theirs and refused to participate in a project of theirs. The Templeton Foundation's Wikipedia page tells some other interesting stories with names you may recognize (with the caveat that it is Wikipedia).

I wonder what influence they have on Nautilus. It's a genuine question; the world isn't black and white, Templeton is not evil, and I don't know their current level of funding for Nautilus - perhaps they could use more Templeton money. OTOH, funders can have subtle influence in many ways, from story selection to self-censorship.

EDIT: Oops, should have kept reading to answer one of my questions: "[The Templeton Foundation] has dialed back funding for Nautilus, although it gave the magazine an additional $1.25 million in 2015, and a little more than $1.2 million last year"

Its been a long time since i've subscribed to a magazine but I have always enjoyed reading Nautilus articles. $29 for print and digital is a steal for the quality of content they produce.

I used to work in the "content generation" sphere. There are two tangible things that humans love to generate for free, art and writing. These things on their own are almost always monetarily worthless even if their worth to society is huge. The reason is that most people, like us here on this board, willingly produce creative writing for free.

The only money in content is advertising since humans need some coaxing to produce it. This is resulting in companies that focus on content being controlled by advertisers behind the scenes. These days it's simple to get "paid placement" almost anywhere with zero mention that the content is sponsored.

This also explains why the best articles seem to come out of companies that don't sell writing. Google employees and the like are putting out research and case studies for fun, labors of love.

At the time of writing this, a subscription for one year is 30$ for a bi-monthly magazine. I would love it if it was once a month (for double the price), however, shipping to Europe seems to cost another 30$ per year. I understand the cost of international shipping and will consider it, but at first glance it sounds a bit steep. There's also no student discount, which is also understandable but a pity.

That said, I do love reading their pieces and it makes me sad that they're in financial trouble.

Note: I read the content online now, but would greatly prefer paper. I subscribe to the Economist and a national opinion magazine. A digital subscription is just not my style (for now, who knows what the future will bring..).

To all writers and editors: keep up the good work. Quality publication. Hope to hear more about the AAAS deal!

Yep. I feel the same about both paper and EU shipping. I would currently have subscriptions to a good 5 English-language magazines that I currently don't have subscriptions to, because the shipping surcharge makes the price unreasonable.

I really hope that this is some obscure tangle that, when solved, will really help some of these publications prosper and make some happy readers here on the continent.

Why isn't there a company that will print and deliver locally?

The demand is probably too low, especially if you consider that Europe is itself quite big which means producing in some central country like Germany will only reduce the international shipping costs but not eliminate them.

I'm a lapsed Nautilus subscriber and in my opinion the world doesn't need a "Paris Review for science" (what I liken Nautilus to) as much as it needs a "BuzzFeed for science" or even a "USA Today for science. That is, reach and impact should be much higher priorities than prestige and design awards.

Science News has been published since 1922. The print edition is bi-weekly.


Thanks for posting this story, I loved reading Nautilus articles. Today I've decided to do something about supporting them - I have purchased their Prime Membership.

I wish more of us can do the same.

That's sad to hear. Has to be my favorite publication. I subscribe to the digital edition, and, while visiting Los Angeles, bought a print copy at Barnes & Noble. I did ask whether they carry older issues and unfortunately the answer was no.

Just subscribed. 14$ a year seems way too cheap, but maybe they've run some numbers on it

The sole comment as of 11:26AM PDT, April 29th, 2017, is devastating. It suggests that science journalism is fucked. I'm going to poll a few friends that do freelance work for Nature & Science to see if this is the general consensus.

Here's the comment for anyone who's curious, posted by "Adam" on "04.29.2017 @1:19 PM" (I'm guessing EDT):

> Science journalism is basically dead as a thing. Many of the top publications pay late or not at all. The rates for freelancers is consistently low and the expectations are high and getting higher. Other than a very small number of high performers, this is not a job and the best that most can expect is to be scraping by as a freelancer. Understandably, many simply stop doing it.

This explains their recent uptick in requests for donations. I bought a print+digital subscription a few weeks ago because emails from Nautilus have been the ones that I've most looked forward to lately.

Am I being cynical or is this just an ad? Every other person is cancelling their subscription to NYT from a piece that went up yesterday, and now this shows up on the front page of HN the day after?

What NYT piece are you referring to?

I saw one person who claims to have cancelled their subscription. The rest of the embedded tweets are either threatening to cancel or justifying "why they cancelled" (before the op-ed). Makes you wonder who these furiously cancelling people are and whether Business Insider bothered to reach them for comment.

That's very entertaining. I wonder what other sort of guest editorial could prompt such a reaction? Probably not the best business move for NYT, to further explore that question...

I just subscribed. It's one of my favorite mags I read all the time and I was introduced to it by HN. Had no idea they were struggling. I hope more subscribe and I hope it survives.

Computers accelerate information exchange, and so much of capitalism is based on the latter. This means huge rewards for those who aim at the popular taste...but the popular taste is very much the lowest common denominator of our cultural data sets. And while it's entirely right to aim at that, our accelerated capitalist system does not do so well with steadily financing things which aim above that. This might be because economic models pursue equilibria of supply and demand, but just as there is a lowest common denominator of both there is also a highest common factor of which economic models take no account, and therefore under-finance.

Just recently discovered Nautilus and it is really high quality stuff, I think I'll get a premium membership too after reading the Cormac McCarthy issue.

Love Nautilus, it's a shame they aren't doing well. Wonder what their subscriber count is.

if my order number indicates anything, its not higher than the low 30K's.

Whatever it is, it isn't enough.

Lets see what we can do about that! I think I've heard their name but I don't know anyone that subscribes but I'm interested now, my guess is with the vast amounts of stuff to read out there its hard for quality to shine entirely on its own. Especially when clickbait is so much more appealing to some people. I think it has become more clear to people that quality journalism (science and otherwise) is not going to be free so the glut of free media might be subsiding some (I know I pay for a lot more media than I ever used to). I'll subscribe and hawk it on my various social media outlets.

I'm quite surprised by the merciless downvote: all I meant to indicate is that however many subscribers they have, it clearly (a) isn't enough to sustain them financially and (b) would be better for scientific literacy if a wider reader base were extant.

Anyway, I've subscribed. Overseas subscriptions are surprisingly expensive on account of the international shipping, but I like print.

Or they aren't charging enough.

If only their printed version wasn't so expensive here in Europe for the shipping...

Does the print edition contain ads?

Nautilus customer service: “Not commercial ads, but it does feature a few science organizations or sponsors.”

The current issue is headed "Consciousness". Groan. That's been discussed to death in the AI community, with little result.

I would love to know more about the person behind and responsible for screwing over the writers.

Great, maybe now we can some content that is not funded by a religious lobby, for a change?


Whew. From the title, I thought I was going to lose my file browser.

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