What if you could choose which media organisations got funding? The Media Fund will be an online crowdfund for your favourite indie-media.
Our media is not fit for purpose. Now more than ever we need an independent, diverse, pluralistic media in this country to focus on issues that are important to all of us, and to hold power to account.
To truly achieve this, at least some of our media needs to be free of corporate and government influence – i.e. their money, and power.
That’s why we are creating The Media Fund, a permanent online crowdfund that allows you to directly support media teams – such as New Internationalist, Radical Film Network, Media Diversified, Novara Media, and many more.
The one thing that these small, independent media networks all have in common is that they do not have a steady flow of income to pay for their time, research, labour, and resources.
The Media Fund site will allow you to:
1) Choose the sites you like and donate a monthly amount of your choice;
2) Access content from your chosen sites all in one place;
3) Find more independent media like it to explore.
4) Support and uphold the integrity of the industry’s transformation, as online digital work challenges traditional mainstream media.
5) Shift the focus – financially and culturally – from papers that promote division and oppression, to whichever publications you think should replace them.
While the biggest media companies in the UK continue business as usual, small independent media groups are revolutionising the media landscape – but to continue to grow, and to maintain rigorous and integral work, they need your help.
We want to make funding new media easy, fun and effective. Together we want to raise loads of cash for the best independent media organisations, and set the standard for the new democratic media industry. One that works for you, because of you.
To set up this organisation, of course, we need a cash basis to get started.
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
Why use The Media Fund, instead of just donating to the individual sites I like?
The site will act as a hub not only for donating money, but also like a social media feed, introducing you to more new, independent, excellent national and local media of all kinds. It will also split your money for you between all the sites you want to support, so you can have just one direct debit going out instead of several.
It will also, when bigger and well-resourced enough, be pooling to create pots of funding – such as a Video Content Pot, a Skills Training Pot and an Investigative Journalism Pot. This will allow the groups you love to apply for funding for particular projects and expansions of their work, even if they’re not receiving huge amounts of individual donations (because they’re local, niche, etc.)
Giving to the Media Fund means more than just its core idea of funding independent media – it also strengthens and expands the abilities and possibilities for public, grassroots communication.
What do you need the money for?
Starting a new organisation requires lots of little bits of cash on startup. In addition, to push the initial growth of The Media Fund over the next 12 months and beyond, we need financial support.
Where exactly will my cash go?
Media tour event costs (£500): one event a week, all around the country, that helps build awareness and reputation for the Media Fund and its organisations. Within these events we are hosting media training. If you support this fund, we’ll come to you!
Website (£2000): to create a slick, user-friendly site that works for you, and processes and distributes payments.
Legal costs (£1500): registering a co-operative, maintaining a bank account, and accountancy fees.
Promotional costs (£1500): producing a video, targeted online marketing, printing, merchandise, and all the other real world goodies that will let people know we (and excellent independent media) exist.
Staff costs (£4000): we will employ one staff member part-time (outside of London) for a year to promote and manage the fund.
Contingency costs (£500): because there’s always something, and we like to be prepared!
How do we know you’re going to be funding QUALITY independent media?
Firstly, the founding organisations of the Media Fund are all established media organisations dedicated to relevant and investigative reporting. We understand the ins and outs of what makes good, honest, in-depth media, and we have only partnered with groups that have already proven they will do the same.
Secondly – and more importantly – we have rules for joining the organisation based on the NUJ code of conduct. This includes rules about funding, corporate and government influence, and the standards of journalism we expect to be upheld. No new organisation will join the Media Fund without a majority vote from the existing groups.
Our rules are always a work in progress – as the organisation will be democratically controlled by YOU, the stakeholders, you will get to shape the organisation – and this includes voting on adding or amending guidelines.
Finally, you choose where to direct the money you contribute to the fund – the media organisations you trust will be the ones to receive most support, reflecting whether or not they are making work to a collectively-accepted standard.
How will the Fund be democratic?
The fund will be a multi-stakeholder co-operative – one that exists for the benefit of more than one community of people. In this instance, the Media Fund will be open to everyone to become a member. Yet it will benefit different members in different ways – the partner organisations will be members, and get help with funding, a collective platform and hub, and extra exposure; the readers who engage with that media – you – will benefit from that media hub too, as it will be easier for you to find and experience independent media, and those media workers will be less stressed, more productive and able to grow.
After the first twelve months we will consider a community share issue – everyone who originally donated would immediately become a community shareholder and have an equal vote at the AGM and other decision making forums. This will be decided democratically by the membership.
Everyone who contributes money to the Media Fund automatically becomes a member. The minimum amount is £1 per month to one organisation, and thus you become a monthly paying member of the co-op. We operate a one member, one vote system, regardless of how much you contribute each month, and the number of organisations you give to. You own the media!
Which media organisations will the fund support?
Any individual or media organisation can apply to become a partner (i.e. recipient) of the Media Fund, and is voted in as a partner organisation/individual as long as a significant majority of the existing organisations, and our wider co-op membership, has no objections. They will then appear on the site as one of the places you can direct your donations, in full or in part.
Those already signed up are:
Centre for Investigative Journalism
Radical Film Network
Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Bristol Radical Film Festival
SUPPORT THE MEDIA REVOLUTION! Click here to donate.
Together we can fight the distortions, exclusions, and hegemony of the mainstream media. If you can’t give to this project for financial reasons, we appreciate that – you’re one of the people we want to represent, so do share the project widely with your networks. Many thanks.