Get one free?

Would a demonstration issue increase the level of subscriptions in a crowdfunding round for a newsmag?

The problem such an issue faces is it would have to be comment based, and comment is precisely what I’m trying to get away from.

Breaking news is an impossibility for print any more, and effectively that means online too. News breaks on radio or tv, or on the newspaper’s website. Print sums it up, first with a synopsis on its website, then either the next day or following Sunday in print.

But with the exception of the major front page stories, little of it is covered in depth, and a lot of stuff barely merits more than a sidebar rewrite of the press release before it’s forgotten. I want a magazine that looks in-depth at the stories that are unknown, or undercovered.

As ever, the small size of the Irish market is an issue. Anything less regular than weekly is an eternity online, but I’m not sure a substantial product can be produced more frequently than monthly. Maybe the best plan is to launch with an appeal for subscriptions through a crowdfund for a monthly product, to be upgraded to fortnightly/weekly is there’s sufficient interest.

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By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.


  1. I’m not sure a demonstration issue is needed before asking for crowdfunding. In fact, a single crystallised issue could detract from selling people an idea.

    I’m also unsure if it matters if there’s a gap between publications that fluctuates a bit. “Regularly” would do me. If that wobbled between two/three weeks, that wouldn’t matter.

  2. I’m waiting this thread of articles with interest. There is definitely a need for “something” as I believe there’s a huge gap in what is being provided to us to read online or in print.

    We are mostly being told, still, what’s happened. And given the amount of reporting of activity on social networks, they’re telling us what we mostly know already.
    As you say, this model is losing relevance very quickly.

    And yet, the main growing type of online media in this country is only building on that model, adding the quite pointless trait of reporting to us what others have already reported.

    All of this, I can take, because I can ignore it.

    Where I’m mostly disappointed these days is the manner in which our columnists leave aside any serious analysis in favour of a “something must be done” tone.

    So, we’re being told what’s happening, and what’s not happening.

    But no one, in my view anyway, is analysing properly the “why” of events in Ireland at the moment.

    Here’s an idea for a model – provide some sort of channel to allow readers, funders, subscribers to refer news stories to you as they read them elsewhere, and then you publish the “why” of the top referred stories over time.

    I appreciate this language is suspiciously close to that of an advert for a particular irish newspaper. Unfortunately, telling us they’re going to do something and actually doing it, shows us that they really don’t “get it”.

  3. My thinking as writing this was was a sort of vote up/down kind of thing where subscribers could refer stories from elsewhere back to you for further follow up.

    Think of it as a new additional kind of “read it later” referral option on smart phones and websites (or browser plugins). It could be done publically, comments and suggestions could be added (e.g. “in reading this, I was struck that x, y, and z wasn’t covered).

    And to your point on tipoffs, the referral could be public or private to allow for confidential stuff be passed on.

    Though, I’ve give up all hope of anyone in this country ever tipping authorities or journalists off about stuff they see going on that needs to be publicised.

  4. Both are interesting ideas, and I do like the idea of reader feedback upvoting on stories to follow up (or fresh areas to cover).

    Tipoffs do lead to stories though, even if it’s not always obvious to the reader

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