I’m so enthused and gratified by the results of my recent pledge-funded podcast that I’d like to propose another experiment in supporting and promoting our shared values. This time, I’m asking you to help motivate Paul to take the leap of publishing an op-ed in a top-tier national paper.

As you likely know, Paul Hsieh is an op-ed writing machine. He published a handful of op-eds in 2007 and 2008, then 13 in 2009. This year, in just six months, he’s published 16 (!!) op-eds. That’s an impressive output, to say the least. It’s in addition to five articles published in The Objective Standard. Perhaps most remarkably, Paul does that work purely in his scarce free time — in evenings and weekends, often after long days in a very busy radiology practice.

Since early 2009, Pajamas Media has become Paul’s favorite outlet, such that most of his op-eds this year were published by them. That makes sense. Pajamas Media is eager for his work, they’re great to work with, and his op-eds get widely circulated and discussed on the internet.

Paul speaks about trying to publish in the top-tier national newspapers on occasion. By that, he means:

  • Wall Street Journal (#1, with circulation of 2,092,523)
  • USA Today (#2, with circulation of 1,826,622)
  • New York Times (#3, with circulation of 951,063)
  • Washington Post (#5, with circulation of 578,482)

For Paul to publish an op-ed in one of those venues would mean so much more exposure for his ideas than any online outlet or regional paper. He’s experienced a taste of that with his two op-eds in the smaller but well-respected Christian Science Monitor, and even with his letters published in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

However, any serious attempt to publish an op-ed in any of those four top-tier venues would require much additional work for Paul. The op-ed couldn’t just be solid: it would have to be a work of art. The submission process would be far more cumbersome than with Pajamas Media too. Consequently, he’s not pursued it seriously.

Here’s my proposal… Let’s help motivate Paul to publish in one of those top-tier national newspapers!

I’m asking you to join me in pledging to pay Paul Hsieh a bonus if he publishes an op-ed in the print edition of any of those four top-tier papers by the end of 2010. The topic — and what he says about it — will be entirely up to him.

Paul needs to start his work on this project as soon as possible. However, he’ll be extra-busy with OCON and then work through August 6th. That gives us some time to gather pledges. If we’ve raised enough funds by noon on August 6th to justify the additional work required for him, then he promises to make a serious effort to publish in one of those top-tier papers. (The more money that’s pledged, the more serious his effort, I suspect!) So on August 6th, I’ll announce whether the project is moving forward or not.

Publishing an op-ed in a top-tier paper is no small feat. Paul knows that, and he’s not sure that he’ll be able to do it by the end of 2010. You’re not pledging for effort; you’re pledging for results. So if he’s successful, then you’ll owe him your pledge when he publishes. But if he’s not, you’ll owe him nothing.

If you value Paul’s work — if you want to inspire him to new heights — please pledge!

In your comment, I’d love if you would say something about why you’ve decided to pledge. What does Paul’s work mean to you? I’d like to post some of those over the next few weeks. I’ll post those anonymously, unless you ask me to include your name. (If you have a blog or a web site, I’d be happy to link to that too. Just include the URL.) Your pledge amount will remain private no matter what.

Note: I’m using a different back-end for managing the pledges this time, so please let me know if you run into any problems.

Also, I’ll be announcing other pledge-funded projects over the next few weeks. I’m excited by the possibilities of this method of funding, and I’m so grateful to the people willing to support the intellectual work they value. It means so much to me, even more than I expected. Thank you, thank you!

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments or e-mail me at [email protected].

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