2007 - 2022

Yes Media

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.


Comments (31)

Leave a Reply to Bella Caledonia Editor Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. jimnarlene says:

    Donation made, good luck.

  2. john young says:

    I don,t have paypal but would like to put my wee donation in how??

    1. Hi John – thanks, you can make a donation by paypal or cheque or bank transfer her:


  3. Ruairidh says:

    Starting to read Bella Caledonia about a year and a half before the referendum was crucial to my journey from an undecided to a yes voter. If anything, I value the site even more today than I did during the referendum campaign. This is one of the few sites that I check daily, and it’s been the source of many happy hours of enlightening procrastination. Keep up the good work.

  4. Tim Morrison says:

    Bella Caledonia has been essential to us in “the People versus Carmichael” campaign. Thank you.

  5. Ann says:

    Glad to be able to contribute. We need you Bella.

  6. Dennis mclaughlin says:

    Wee donation made to a worthy cause.
    Wings gets the lions share of the limelight,but our online journalistic presence is graced by yourselves and many others…’back in your boxes!’…
    ate it would have been all too easy to do…
    Thanks to Bella we are all much better informed! .

    1. Did you watch the Pat Kane video where he talks about the differences of the various platforms & blogs?

  7. john young says:

    I notice the tories have plans to re-sight cruise missiles in the UK,that,s all we need pandering to the warmongering USA.

  8. Fran says:

    Bella is great. Between it and Independence Live I rarely even get the chance to watch the iplayer any more. More power to you.

  9. Kenny Smith says:

    Hi Mike, I discovered Bella and Wings late on in indyref but I sure am glad I did. From here I have went to Scot goes pop, Derek Bateman and to the 1 and only wee ginger dug. This site has proved invaluable to me. I started as a no wanting a federal UK but swiftly moved to yes and im even more determined to see Scotland independent than I ever imagined. That is down to the efforts of everyone in the movement, common wheal and hope over fear putting more meat on the bones. I love the comments part that has been added even though I am perplexed by some posts that I can’t quite believe have come from yes voters but hey life would be drab if we had the same thoughts. I may have missed it but I think there should be a donate link at the top in big bold writing at the top of every page that leads you to the different payment methods. I don’t get paid till Friday but yourself and newsnet will be getting a modest contribution ( I wish I could give more ) that I think is well earned. Keep on keeping on 😉

    1. What a heartfelt comment, thanks so much Kenny. There’s a link on every page going out – so glad you came with us!

  10. David McCann says:

    Not sure how long Ive been a Bella fan but its a long time, and glad to see its getting better each day.
    I like its diversity as much as its political viewoint, but come to think of it, its probably because of it viewpoint, it is diverse!
    More power to your keyboard.
    Ive shared it on Facebook and would encourage everyone to do that same.
    Last big push folks!

  11. Craig P says:

    I have also donated, but can I ask a favour? please cut down on the amount of videos, or at least provide some kind of transcript. Video is fine for watching a debate but text is far superior for opinion pieces. You must know by your own webstats that the video posts are less viewed and commented upon. Sticking something in a video is a barrier to people getting the content. Otherwise, great job!

    1. Hi Craig – it’s true that videos are less commented on but they are shared far more. Part of the richness of the web format is we can bring podcasts and content via soundcloud, vimeo, you tube etc

  12. Tina Fiji says:

    Being a miserable teuchter from the North East I’m usually not that keen on back-slapping and “well dones”, however, since discovering Bella in January 2013 my outlook has changed and Bella has been instrumental in that process. I’ve gone from an ambivalent bystander to a committed supporter of independence and fairness. The blinkers have been removed. I question everything I read, though I’ve all but given up on mainstream media, and I’m using parts of my brain I didn’t know I had (it hurts sometimes but I’m sure it’s good for me) – the outcome has amazed and angered me more than I could have imagined and I admit that on occasion I feel like that bloke in The Matrix, wishing I’d taken the blue pill.

    Great job Mike, and good luck – we need you.

    PS Where’s One Baw Shaw/Corporatist Hell today? Maybe he’s too busy making a donation to comment, aye, that’ll be it.

  13. Thanks Tina – don’t hurt your wee brain too much! I expect our resident troll to pop any minute soon with a suitable new IP address and pseudonym.

    1. JBS says:

      Oooh I do hope so, he’s great fun. Why not offer him a regular slot writing coolly disdainful and tendentious articles for Bella? You could call the series The View From Smugland.

  14. My Cocaine says:

    As much as I welcome independent media such as Bella, and Wings, I hope we don’t end up replacing a bias pro-union media, with a bias pro-indy media. That’s no good to anybody, and certainly not to a democratic society.

    1. I don’t think completely unbiased media exists, or can exist. Absolute neutrality is a bit of a myth. We are not a propaganda sheet though. I don’t think its about replacing the ‘old’ media but enriching it and giving it other dimensions.

  15. Maeve Wightman says:

    Well worth a few quid every now and again. Great job well done!

  16. fraise says:

    Wish I could give more Mike but my one donation as all I can afford on my pension. I hope others who read the various articles can assist you. I for one would feel a sense of loss if were unable to complete your target

    1. Thanks very much, very grateful for your support

  17. Ron Arnott says:

    Congratulations on your excellent choice of informative articles. Bella has been an enjoyable daily read for me throughout the past couple of years.

    I’m happier to chip in by regular standing order rather than contribute via Indegogo. (I’m still awaiting my ‘goodie’ hard-back Wee Blue Book from the ‘Wings’ fund-raiser!)

    I’d also be glad to contribute more if Bella were to consider a Directory of Business Supporters or maybe small-ads as a source of revenue. I prefer to buy from small independent firms but they’re not always easy to find online. Being good at one’s trade doesn’t always equate to being internet savvy!

    Would your readers be interested in Employee Share Ownership? It’s a subject that’s dear to my heart but needn’t be dear to your pocket. I’d be happy to draft such an article on a fee-free basis, provided there were no deadline for publication. Unlike yourself, I can’t juggle writing along with family and work.

    Awrabest, Ron Arnott

  18. Anton says:

    The difference, it seems to me, between Bella and sites like Wings is that Bella is prepared to accept independent voices and debate. I’ve got rather bored by the Rev Stu’s site recently, given his intolerance of dissenting opinions. He posts something, his supporters agree, yawn – we’re no further on.

    Just to be a wee bit pompous for a moment, I’ve always believed that we can best arrive at authentic conclusions by considering the views of our opponents, not by relying on sites which merely support previously-held opinions. Good arguments drive out bad. But you have to have the argument in the first place.

    So I say hooray for Bella. I’ve already contributed. But you know what? I’m going to contribute again.

  19. Iain MacKinnon says:

    I see you are inching closer to the target Mike.

    I support Bella Caledonia for two main reasons.

    Firstly, it has provided a public space for new and marginal political, social and cultural positions and radical ideas in Scotland in a way that I believe parallels the emergence of the West Highland Free Press newspaper in the early 1970s. After difficult early years during which it established itself as acting on behalf of ‘the land, the language, and the people’, the Free Press became a critical vehicle for emancipatory change in the west Highlands and Islands, a powerful champion of the language and culture of Gaels, of crofting and of land reform.

    It seems to me that Bella Caledonia is working to advance this emancipatory agenda throughout Scotland and on behalf of Scotland’s cultural diversity.

    BC does not have the local and cultural specificity of the Free Press but it has taken these land and culture issues, and many others connected to social, cultural and ecological justice, and opened dialogues and discussion that enrich and enliven public discourse in Scotland.

    The second reason I admire BC is that, as far as I can make out, it is a much more open and deeply democratic forum than conventional print and broadcast media.

    Conventional newspapers and TV and radio news have their resident body of expert correspondents and columnists and the public are left as more or less passive consumers of the selected facts, perspectives and opinions.

    It seems to me that this is not how it works with BC. As far as I am aware, if someone has a sustained perspective, critique or proposal then, with minimal editorial intervention, BC will allow for this expression to be shared.

    The large, well informed and opinionated BC readership are then open to critique, criticise and praise – and while feelings can sometimes run high, ‘trolls’ seem to be relatively rare and, generally, so far, it seems the measure has been made of them.

    In a way that is, I think, unparalleled in the Scottish media, it seems to me that Bella Caledonia is helping to cultivate new thinkers as well as new ideas. In the interests of fostering ‘high intensity democracy’ in Scotland I think that is something well worthy of support.

  20. Duncan McLean says:

    I’m a poor man but I can spare a bit. You’re welcome.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.