The Correspondent will start, funded by readers in cash, not data.
Today the crowdfunding for The Correspondent came to the end, raising an impressive 2,627,0,34 USD by 45,886 founding members from 136 countries. This was above their target of 2.5 M$ so they indeed have lift-off!
After onboarding 17,000 members in the first half of the campaign, it started to loose some momentum, but then Jay Rosen, one of their most outspoken ambassadors made an appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and new members came pouring in. A few days later, the founder Rob Wijnberg was at Reliable Sources of CNN, where he explained the concept of Unbreaking News at the desk that practically invented Breaking News. A YouTube video from the Young Turks exposed them to a younger audience of 4 M followers.
This funding will allow a radically different news coverage. Not influenced by advertisers, publishing houses, clickbait headers, data trackers to milk website visitors, it will be almost completely paid from member funding (a small part will come from book sales). There were 3 investors that came up with the money to set up the whole campaign; the Dutch Foundation for Democracy and Media, Craig Newark (from Craigslist) and the filantropist Pierre Omidyar, but from this point on, all expenses must be covered by members.
This is not just a platform for journalists, but members can actively participate, suggest topics, help in research via their own expertise, in short they take their members serious and reallize the collective wisdom of their members far outpace the knowledge of a relatively small team of journalists.
The Dutch version of the Correspondent is already live for over 5 years, so the whole infrastructure is already up and running, proven technology, providing a carefully designed website for all platforms. English speaking members may expect occasional articles in the coming months, but the first focus will be on recruiting a world-wide team of correspondents, editors, designers and developers. If you think you have the skills to make the difference, contact them here: jobs.thecorrespondent.com
When you sponsored with any amount of money, you can expect 1-2 long reads every day, starting mid 2019. You can still subscribe of course, it doesn’t end with the founding members.
This quote is one of their 10 founding principles:
Journalism is at its best when it includes many different perspectives and worldviews. That’s why we seek to include people from a broad variety of backgrounds, both in our newsroom and on our platform. Our principle of inclusivity extends to the way we find writers, reach readers, and treat members. Expecting writers to have a point of view helps in recruiting a diverse staff. Members can share our journalism freely with anyone, expanding our readership. And we have an inclusive pricing model, so nobody is excluded from our journalism because of purchasing power.
In an age where many have only Facebook as their source of information and WhatsApp to be loaded with the weirdest complot theories, I think The Correspondent is the type of journalistic approach the world is eagerly waiting for, funded by readers in cash, not data.
Even though you could choose whatever amount you wanted to pay to become a subscriber, the average pledge was 30 US$. I think that proves a point, doesn’t it?
Wall of Fame (member names who participated in both the dutch and english language platform)