In August, HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver produced a segment on the decline of journalism, where Oliver called attention to our unwillingness to pay for the work journalists produce.
“We’ve just grown accustomed to getting our news for free, and the longer that we get something free the less willing we are to pay for it,” he said.
The segment stuck with me not only because it ended with a hilarious spoof of what a movie about journalism may look like in five or ten years but also because I share the view expressed by Oliver. It is our collective responsibility to save journalism.
At Shadowproof, we believe we get the news we deserve. If we are content with junk food news, stories we should focus on about corruption and grassroots efforts to fight corruption will go ignored and untold. However, if some of us are willing to make a small investment in media outlets we trust, we can fight back against the rapid degeneration of news reporting.
Will you please become a Shadowproof member and donate $10/month to help us in the struggle to save journalism?
Shadowproof launched a little more than one year ago. During this time, the website has expanded, hiring Roqayah Chamseddine as a regular columnist. We’ve funded freelance projects, such as sending journalist Rania Khalek to cover the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. And in the midst of election madness, we’re devoting resources to important stories that would otherwise be shelved, such as our profiles challenging crude representations of American Muslims in news media and entertainment.
The number of members we have has fluctuated. At one point, back in July, we had about 100 members signed up as monthly donors. We now have 58 members. On average, they donate about $14 each month.
It is difficult to gauge why exactly the number dropped drastically, but in the interest of transparency, we are not hiding the fact that we have seen a decline in members. That is part of the struggle of running an independent media organization. Funding ebbs and flows, and it is up to us to build a strong foundation so that fluctuations do not result in us ever being in a position where we would have to shut down.
So, for this round, we’re setting a goal of 125 members, and to show how much we value our members, we will send everyone, who signs up to give $5 or more each month, a Shadowproof tote bag.
We do not claim to have the answer or the solutions to saving journalism, but we do believe we are part of an array of media organizations out there engaged in daily work that challenges the decline.
All we have to do is find a few hundred people to become members, and our organization will become a sustainable media outlet that is capable of supporting independent journalists and producing work that makes a difference.
Like John Oliver said, “We are either going to pay for journalism, or we are all going to pay for it.” And, as the 2016 Election continues to engulf us in a nightmarish cloud of depravity and lowered expectations, now seems like an appropriate time to start paying for journalism, which may potentially give us some hope and directly challenge this madness.