Public interest journalism funded by the public

An update on

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Several silent months have passed since the idea to launch a website dedicated to public interest journalism — — was floated and feedback invited.. There has been plenty of activity since.

A small group has been working on the vital foundations on which such a venture will rely if it is to be successful Governance, funding, and operational support are issues that need careful consideration because we are determined that,for to open its digital door it has to be sustainable.

Over the past few months there have been a number of lessons learned. Some have been painful, but all have been constructive.

One of the painful lessons that I have learned is that will be a time-consuming venture and one that will require more time than I will be able to devote to it. I have come to the conclusion that the need to support my family through freelance journalism and commentary will not leave sufficient time for me to continue to take the lead role in during its formative stage. When there is sufficient funding available for me to take on a professional role within I will be able to reduce the amount of paid time I need to spend on other activities.

This decision also flows from another lesson: We will have to fight for funding in an economic environment where philanthropy is less evident than in more prosperous times and where we need to be wary of the difference between verbal commitments to donate and actually putting a hand in one’s pocket. Building the essential substantial operating fund will take more time than I earlier envisaged

Therefore, I have decided that to ensure we get this right our first phase will continue to be a collective effort to develop the model on which will operate. The small voluntary team that has already been working on a trust deed, operational structure and funding model will continue to develop the framework for the organization.

When that work is completed and we are satisfied that we have the governance, funding and foundation personnel to ensure that is a sustainable long-term venture that can deliver on its mission to promote public interest jinvestigative journalism we will push the start button.

I’m sure you will agree that this venture is too important to allow it to start too soon, falter and die. When it starts, it must be seen as a success and that will only happen if we have done our homework.

So, we are asking you to be patient for a little longer. We undertake to keep you updated on our progress toward that start date.

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Author: Bernard Hickey

I'm Bernard Hickey. I'm a financial journalist who has worked for wire services, for newspapers and for online publishers. Until January 2008 I was the Head of Digital at Fairfax Media in New Zealand. I have previously been the Managing Editor of the Independent Financial Review, the BusinessDay editor for the Dominion Post and the founding editor of I love the business of publishing online, both from an editorial and commercial point of view. I'm currently working as the editor of I begin as founding editor of on November 1.

One thought on “An update on

  1. Have you thought about a pledge model such as Avaaz sometimes uses whereby people enter their credit card details but nothing is docked until a particular target is met? People could then see what progress is being made financially.

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