Hello friends! Believe it or not, it’s been 264 days since we launched Between The Lines.
In that time, there were 179 working days, minus weekends and national public holidays and we’re proud to say we sent you a newsletter on every one of those days, except for the two days when we were knocked out by illness and family emergencies.
We’ve also put together 7 special reports, a two-parter on disappearing rhinos and other Malaysian wildlife, another two-parter on the politics behind the haze and the true cost of the haze, this beautiful essay on the Batek tribe, this insightful commentary on the Mahathir-Lee Kuan Yew dynamic, and for the Merdeka/Malaysia Day season, this special collection of cartoons exploring the question of whether Malaysia Baru is any different from Malaysia Lama.
Since we started on this project, our team of four has roughly spent 6 hours a day, or over 1,000 hours of work over an eight-month period, on this project.
Despite the jokes and easy language, our little team put a lot of effort into each day’s curated newsletter, and we’d like to think we hit more often than we miss. We’ve gotten a couple of scoldings from you guys (there’s such a thing as trying to be too funny), but have also gotten SO MUCH love, especially that week when we were on MC.
We’ve also dug deep into our own pockets for this project, spending north of RM30,000 so far, because we truly believe in what we do. That money has gone into paying our writers, designers and programmers; tech backend costs; and various other miscellaneous expenses associated with Between the Lines (we’re not including our kopi and brainstorming sessions!). And in case you’re wondering – we’re neither affiliated to, nor funded by any advertisers, political parties, interest groups or sugar daddies.
Our community of subscribers has grown tremendously – almost all through word-of-mouth – and there are now hundreds of people subscribing to Between The Lines (we’ve even got at least two famous Malaysians on our list!). Our email open rates are more than double the industry average of 19%, and many of you give us really helpful feedback and also forward our emails to your contacts.
All in all, we don’t think it would be bragging to say all of this ain’t bad for a bunch of grizzled journos who work on this while juggling our full-time jobs, family commitments and part-time studies. But as we said right from the start, Between the Lines is a labour of love and something we see as a needed service in our country right now. And it’s something we’ll continue to do for as long as we can!
But even the most powerful engines need rest, so we’ll be taking a break for the rest of this year. Fret not, we will be back, guns blazing, on Jan 6.
We also have three requests to make – consider these our official Christmas wishes!
Firstly, as we plan for 2020, it would be incredibly helpful to get your feedback. Could you help us with that by filling out this short survey so we can get a better idea of what you’d like to see from us in the future?
Secondly, we’ve set up a virtual tip jar. It would be great if you’d like to throw something into it to make our Christmases a little merrier. 😉 Click below if you’d like to show us your appreciation for our work over the past year.
And lastly, we’d love to reach more people through our newsletter. We’ve enabled sharing via email forwarding, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. It would be the best thing ever if you could keep forwarding our emails to your friends and families and get them to sign up for BTL too. You can also send them this signup link right now if you want: https://mailchi.mp/tridentmedia/btl
And that’s it! Thanks again for letting us into your mailboxes and see you next year. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all the best in 2020!
~ The Between The Lines team ~