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Shadowproof Editors Respond To Reader Survey

We put together our first survey since our media organization launched last August, and we are very grateful for the feedback we received.

First, 75% of readers told us they enjoy reading about whistleblower-related issues, 68% said they appreciate reading about incarceration and criminal justice issues, 78% said they like reading about Wall Street and class warfare issues, 71% said they enjoy our coverage of foreign policy issues, and 76% said they appreciate reading our coverage of presidential politics and the 2016 Election. (Note: Readers could select one more more when filling out this section.)

We asked what movements and issues readers would like to see us cover more. Forty-three percent wanted coverage of climate change, 50% wanted more on war and foreign policy issues, 49% percent wanted coverage of Native American or indigenous American issues, 67% wanted more coverage of the criminalization of protests, 39% wanted more coverage of Islamophobia, 45% wanted coverage of labor issues. (Note: Readers could select one or more when filling out this section.)

Journalist Roqayah Chamseddine will launch her column on April 4. It will cover Islamophobia, and Chamseddine will have more information about plans for her column next week.

Shadowproof columnist Dan Wright regularly publishes work for a column called “The Next Cold War.” It regularly covers and explores United States’ imperial ambitions and the forces, which stand in the way, especially China and Russia.

There should be more coverage of the criminalization of protests at “The Dissenter,” and I will focus more of my attention on this issue in the coming weeks. We will also be on the lookout for stories on Native American or indigenous American issues.

This information is helpful in planning our work in the coming months. It is possible to periodically cover the other issues of interest to our readers, like climate change and labor, but we really need to hire additional journalists in order to cover those important topics extensively.

Readers also made it clear that they would like more investigations from Shadowproof–and for the record, we want to publish more of them. Hiring new journalists to conduct these investigations is possible if more readers become members. We rely on our members for funds to pay for journalism from freelance writers, as well as columnists like Chamseddine.

Feedback demonstrated a desire for Shadowproof to engage in more activism or advocacy work. We are considering some ideas for what we could do so stay tuned.

There was a significant interest in a “Letters to the Editor.” Shadowproof is prepared to launch such a column. Letters published will be from regular readers and grassroots voices, who are not journalists or freelance writers. These letters can be feedback on the work Shadowproof and its writers are doing, activism or struggles being waged in your community, or opinions about topics or issues in the news.

If you would like to have a “Letter to the Editor” featured, please send your writing to:

To those who comment and help create a vibrant community in the threads of posts, we recognize that we are having technical problems with comments disappearing. We are working on a solution to this, but in the meantime, what we will probably do is leave the comment threads on posts open longer so people can comment for more than a week after the post is published.

We received comments on the Shadowproof online discussions, and the “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast, which I produce and co-host with Rania Khalek. In case you’re looking for them, previous online discussions can be found here. Previous “Unauthorized Disclosure” episodes can be found here.

We also want to use this opportunity to remind our readers all are welcome to attend Shadowproof discussions, which are free to the public and broadcast online. We have a new slate of planned discussion events we will announce in April.

A few asked about whether we are “objective” or not. Shadowproof does not believe in the concept of objectivity in journalism. All media organizations have a point of view or some kind of ideology driving their operations. Most choose to conceal it with “balanced” reporting, but we think choosing not to take a position is, in fact, a position in and of itself. Being neutral on a moving train does not make one objective.

We believe in being open about our perspective and stances on issues so readers can decide whether they should trust our work and treat what we publish as credible. For more details, read our introduction to Shadowproof here.

To those who worry they cannot support us because they are underemployed or unemployed, you still mean a lot to us. We value your readership and comments, and rely on people like you to share our work with others. We need you to introduce others to Shadowproof so we can continue to grow this community.

A huge thanks to those people who do step up and support our work as members who make monthly donations. We know that many of you probably donate, even though you have little extra income after paying bills. We greatly appreciate the fact that you believe in what we do and are willing to sacrifice some of your earnings to make it possible for us to do important work.

We are wrapping up a fundraising and membership drive. When we started, we had 45 members. We set a goal of 100 members, and we now have 66 members. You can help close that gap and ensure Shadowproof continues publishing by becoming a member for as little as $10 per month today.

Finally, some websites are going to war with ad blockers, and they are instituting paywalls. We have no intention of ever taking such actions, which we think may alienate our readers. We believe in your goodwill. We trust that many of our readers recognize journalism is a public service, and if we do not fund media, the journalism we get is a kind of journalism that represents the interests of political elites and the richest one percent in the United States.

We will leave the survey open in case anyone else wants to provide us with feedback.

Thank you all for the feedback and the support over the last seven months. You have helped us achieve success and inspired us to continue to push boundaries.


Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."