IMG_0709_2By Mike Small

There’s been times in the last eight years that I’ve been really close to chucking it all in. Abusive emails, trolls, threats, the stress of doing something in the cracks of your life around raising small children and other ‘proper’ paid work, all took its toll. This isn’t a moan – we’re still here and we now have the framework of a wider editorial team – it’s just to say that it could have been otherwise. How many other people didn’t realise the full impact of the indref campaign on them personally till months afterwards?

But we’re still here.

One of the inspiring things about crowd funding is not the money (the money’s great, the money’s essential!) but the messages of support that we’ve received, the feedback and the new connections with our readers. The fact that over 1000 people have given us their support is just astonishing. It’s all about lots and lots of people giving small amounts. It’s the opposite of a single Press Baron dictating the public realm with their views.

We were / are inspired by the example of the online magazine De Correspondent based in the Netherlands. In their manifesto they write: “De Correspondent will publish fresh stories on a daily basis, but it aims to uncover, explain and highlight deep-lying structures and long-term developments that powerfully shape our world, rather than speculating about the latest hype, scare, or breaking news story” which is about as close to a Bella approach as anything we’ve found.  But perhaps more telling is the relationship with the wider readership: “De Correspondent is commercial, but its business model focuses on selling content to readers, rather than selling readers to advertisers. Subscription fees and donations are its main source of income, and at least 95 per cent of revenue will be invested in further developing the platform and investing in journalism. The ultimate goal is to improve journalism, not to fill the pockets of shareholders.”

The key part here is that the ecology of the media has changed ‘selling content to readers, rather than selling readers to advertisers’ is a different model, and it’s the one we are exploring.

The tools we have make this possible for the first time and with your help we are close to a breakthrough. Then we can shut up and stop going on about it.

We have 1116 funders and are 73% funded with 4 days left. Can you help us? Can you donate? Can you share the link with others? Click here to support us build a better media.