Matt Kiser

is creating WTF Just Happened Today?


WTF Just Happened Today is a newsletter, blog, and community that chronicles the daily shock and awe in national politics. It's produced every morning by hand, updated throughout the day, with a newsletter sent out every afternoon, Monday through Friday. More than 200,000 people rely on WTFJHT to bring them the day's news in a concise and focused recap. 

What started as a simple side-project has quickly grown into my full-time job. That's right. I quit my job. See? Trump is creating jobs

So here's the deal
: I do this full-time. While it's just me running this thing, it's still quite expensive and it takes its toll. I'm researching, writing, editing, producing, doing my own social media, and web development.

While this has been one of the most exciting, fun, and rewarding projects I've ever been involved in, the deal is pretty straight-forward: I'll continue to do this as long as the community continues to support me.

I want nothing more than for this to keep going until it no longer needs to exist.

So, how much does this cost to run? Glad you asked! I did some back of the napkin math and I came up with ~$8,841/month. That's a pretty conservative estimate, tbh. Nobody's getting rich here and I'm certainly not earning enough to save or grow WTFJHT further. If you're interested in how I arrived at that number, I've outlined the cost of running WTFJHT in the FAQ.

What's the money for? My goal is to make WTFJHT a sustainable, community-funded media project. This means covering all the hosting costs, email delivery, site search, community forum, web development, "salary," health insurance, and more (did you say 401k?). My current goal is to raise a little bit of money so I can hire a part-time journalist to help me out when I need to take a day off. 

Core Values:
  • Transparency. WTFJHT is open sourced and hosted as a public repository on GitHub. Anybody can view the change log at anytime for any post. They can make pull requests to fix grammar, typos, facts, sources, etc., as well as contribute code.
  • Choice. I cite every reference by the name of the original source and link to it clearly. Where appropriate, I'll include additional sources to the same or similar news.
  • Clear expectations. The premise of WTFJHT is simple: answer what happened, what the facts are, and cite the source. 
  • Follow through. For every day that I meet the expectations I set, I earn trust with the audience. For every day that I fail to meet the expectations I set for myself, I lose trust. It's that simple.
  • Making something people want. Yes.
  • No strings attached. There's no business model trickery here. No ads. No content gates. No selling of data. I have a website and a newsletter, and I never stray from any of the above. Why the fuck would I want to sell out my audience anyway?

Editorial Policy:
  • WTFJHT takes a neutral-ish position. It's not intentionally partisan. It's purposefully moderate. It focuses on clearly saying what happened, concisely presenting the facts, citing the primary source, and moving on. Bias is the byproduct of being a human making decisions. Sorry. 
  • WTFJHT does not offer commentary, opinion, or analysis. This isn't a platform for pundits. That's what the primary sources linked to are for.
  • WTFJHT's value is derived from the brand's reputation and its promise to the readers. The voice, tone, and being neutral-ish all represent the brand. If I break this promise, I break the trust of the reader.

What Some Really Smart People Say:
"This is the site I’ve been waiting for." –Amy O'Leary, Chief Story Officer & 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

What The Media Says:
1/ Meet the wildly popular blogger chronicling President Trump one day at a time. The site is easy to read, easy to parse and easy to share. There are no ads, and WTF Happened Today makes it easy to see news in context with what happened yesterday and the day before that. (Poynter)

2/ Your Guide to the Sprawling New Anti-Trump Resistance Movement. An explosion of new activism offers a ray of hope in these dark political times. (The Nation)

4/ This email newsletter tries to make sense of Trump’s America. A daily email newsletter has emerged to help keep everyone’s heads from spinning off trying to keep up. Most importantly it answers the perpetual question of “WTF just happened today?” (Mashable)

Thanks for supporting me. 
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