The Correspondent, a subscriber-only news site where the readers are given an involvement in creating and shaping the stories, has partnered with philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network for funding.
The Dutch website, which does not run ads of any type, has secured $950,000 in runway funding. With this aid, it has partnered with Blue State Digital – the digital team behind president Obama’s election campaign. Creative partner Momkai is also on board to create a global campaign informing readers of the value of the site’s news.
The title revealed that 85% of revenue coming from members – meaning it needs to chase scale to have a stable reader base and wider-hitting journalism.
Ernst-Jan Pfauth, co-founder and chief executive of The Correspondent wrote on Medium: “This early funding will allow us to put together a top-notch campaign team from our US base in New York and run a worldwide membership campaign within the year."
Pfauth added: “We still have a modest funding gap left to close before we have the total we need to launch an effective global campaign.”
Nishant Lalwani, director of independent media at Omidyar Network’s Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative, said: “
We believe that The Correspondent represents a pioneering and powerful model of independent journalism. Their membership-focused approach strives to deliver the things that really matter: reader trust, diversity in the newsroom, and data privacy for their users. De Correspondent, their Dutch counterpart, has shown that it’s possible to build deep trust and meaningful relationships with their audience through an ad-free, financially sustainable media platform.
“We are confident The Correspondent can do the same, and are thrilled to support them as they prepare for their membership campaign.”
The Correspondent boasts 60,000 paying members. Last year, The Drum interviewed Pfauth about the intricacies of The Correspondent model and how it works with readers, involving them in the content creation and guidance.