There are already many experts who express their concern for the future of journalism… Most of them argue that there’s no profitable business model that can finance it on digital platforms. However, a new possibility has already been found: crowdfunding. What’s the proof? These journalists who have used it to save their profession. This is an initiative that has been studied with the passage of time. Especially now that some are already talking about financed journalism in the future.

Financed journalism and its course

Journalist and writer Angela Phillips, wrote in 2016 an article for The Conversation talking about this topic. Being one of the first people to express their concern regarding the future of journalism. Which, according to her analysis, has suffered a lot for maintaining itself economically since the arrival of the digital era. She mentioned certain exceptions such as the Dutch newspaper De Correspondent, but insisted that there are still risks. But she did say that in those cases there are key factors, such as the establishment of services that attract interest.

This is true enough! Those individual cases mentioned by Angela had something that always characterized them from the rest. To give you a better idea, we decided to take three journalists who decided to say yes to crowdfunding. We will study their cases carefully to observe their traits.

Katharine Viner and The Guardian

The Guardian is a British newspaper of daily circulation. Its printed version was born in 1821 and its digital platform version was launched in 1999. It’s one of the most famous newspapers in the United Kingdom and its influence on journalism is of international stature. In 2015, the British journalist Katharine Viner assumed the position of editor-in-chief. And since then she has led several of The Guardian’s initiatives to move forward. This newspaper is mainly maintained by advertising and trust funds, but still recorded annual losses. Prior to Katherine’s arrival, the Guardian Media Group had already done something about it.

Katharine Viner The Guardian
Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of The Guardian. Source: Press Gazette

This is how the membership scheme was born in 2014, consisting of readers who subscribe to give contributions and receive benefits. When Katherine arrived, she was in charge of promoting The Guardian’s efforts to be able to finance themselves in a stable manner. Although the method is not 100% viable, it has allowed them to reduce the number of economic losses. Katherine continues to work to find a more sustainable income.

Alon Aviram and The Bristol Cable

This is another special case. The Bristol Cable is a digital news magazine from England. This newspaper emerged in 2011 and was launched in 2014 through the initiative of three students. Alon Aviram, Alec Saelens and Adam Cantwell, all three from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. Since its launch it has had a quite favorable trajectory and everything went considerably well for them. However, like any other surging media website, it required financing. Alon Aviram is an English journalist and co-founder of this newspaper, and took action as part of the main team. It was then known that The Bristol Cable was being financed by 400 shareholders who paid £2.50 each, monthly.

Alon Aviram The Bristol Cable
Alon Aviram (center), journalist and co-founder of The Bristol Cable along with Alec Saelens (left) and Adam Cantwell (right). Source: The Guardian

It was difficult for this English newspaper to earn enough income to cover salary payments. It’s known that all the journalists who work there do it for free and without remuneration… Can you believe it? Now that’s working for love of your profession. Alon Aviram explains that they approached the local community to request support. And it was known that they managed to raise £3300 through it. They still have a long way to go with this newspaper, which according to Angela Phillips, could only be maintained with advertisement.

Dámaso Jiménez and Biendateao.com

Let’s finish with a Latin American example. Biendateao.com is a Venezuelan news website, founded on April 19, 2010. As a digital newspaper it has a quite remarkable positioning, all under the slogan: “The news are our center, what’s social our way of life”. The main figure that heads Biendateao.com is Venezuelan journalist Damaso Jimenez, a veteran communicator with a lot of experience in the journalistic field. He ventured into print journalism, radio and television. And currently he is the conductor of his radio program called Damaso 2.0. To continue explaining the subject, it’s now important to make a small parenthesis.

Damaso Jimenez BienDateao
Damaso Jimenez, journalist and owner of the BienDateao news website. Source: BienDateao

Journalism in Venezuela has suffered due to the problems that this country is experiencing at a political, social and economic level. Like various other printed and digital newspapers, Biendateao.com faces the challenge of bringing news before these adversities. That’s why Damaso, owner of the website, decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to improve it. The objective is to cover expenses such as the hiring of qualified personnel and web hosting payments. With which he hopes to improve the service and quality of its work as a website and source of news. This campaign is hosted on our platform and can be found on this link.

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Related: 4 Most Successful Crowdfunding Categories

Can crowdfunding save journalism…?