By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Ain't too proud to beg: As sins go--and in Buzz's experience they go quite nicely, thank you--running a ministry that's too proud to ask for money seems a pretty minor, and rare, offense. Yet pride is a sin nonetheless, one that Ole Anthony of the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation, publisher of The Door Magazine, is seeking to overcome. The Door needs dough, and Anthony, against all his better or baser instincts, is passing the plate.
"We've never asked for money before. This is what's so heartbreaking," says Anthony, editor of the publication that calls itself "the world's pretty much only religious satire magazine."
The issue is simple economics. The Door's circulation is in the neighborhood of 12,000 readers, and it costs $1.35 per copy to publish, Anthony says. To survive financially, it needs a circulation of 17,000, which will allow it to move to a high-volume press. That will lower the per-copy cost to around 30 cents. To boost its circulation, The Door must do direct-mail advertising, and for that it needs $30,000-$40,000.
Ironically, Anthony says The Door's research suggests that the magazine has a freakishly high pass-along readership. For every paid copy, 8.4 people read it.
"There's a whole bunch of cheap bastards who read our magazine," Anthony says.
Baptists, most likely, Buzz supposes.
Asking for money must be particularly galling for Anthony, whose magazine gained fame for helping bring down grasping televangelist Robert Tilton and for tackling other religious grifters. "It's still pride, even if it's for a good reason," says Anthony, who claims he has turned down millions of dollars offered by the magazine's targets if it would just clam up.
(Note to Buzz's readers: The going rate for shutting us up is still $1.95, cash or check. We have no pride. Obviously.)
In case you're worried that donating to The Door might lead Anthony down the road to evangelical perdition--coifed with a pompadour and sporting Armani suits and diamond pinky rings--consider this: The Door's staff of 25 is paid $50 a week, plus housing. "Everybody on our staff has taken a vow of poverty," Anthony says.
Of course they have. They're journalists.