[NOTE: this post has been updated] The Tyee, a popular B.C. online news site, is asking readers for donations to help pay for more reporters to cover the upcoming provincial election.
In a column introducing the fund, Tyee editor David Beers wrote:
“That’s right. I’m doing something I’ve never done before, asking you, as a members of our Tyee community of readers, to help us fund our political reporting.
I’m asking because covering this provincial election is not only seriously important, it is seriously expensive. Doing it right means extra cost on top of our usual, very lean budget. More digging, more travel, more phone bills, more dogging of politicians to hold them accountable.”
Beers is hoping to raise $5000 through The Tyee Election Reporting Fund before April 14, the official start of the election. He calculates that $5000 would cover “30 extra reporter days here at the Tyee — an extra reporter for every day of the election campaign.”
The donations, however, are not tax-deductible, Beers notes. The Tyee‘s annual reporting fellowships, which are also partially reader-funded, are considered charitable and are therefore deductible.
“We have the best team of political journalists in B.C. chomping at the
bit to get going. With our humble budget, we can use them each a bit.
With your help, we can use them a lot. Help us unleash them!”
The writ dropped today and the B.C. election has officially begun. And the Tyee is now in good shape to report on the provincial contest, now that readers have responded to Beers’ call for donations and the fund has grown well beyond the original goal of $5000.
As of April 9, the fund had reached $6718, which Beers told readers is “enough to hire an extra reporter a day for the election, and pay for some extra travel expenses to boot.”
The drive continues until the end of today (April 14) and after the success of the initial few days, Beers revised the goal to $10,000. Readers were also asked to name an issue that is particularly important to them, and Tyee editors promised to put that reader’s donation directly toward reporting on their issue of choice.
Beers wrote in his latest column on the fund:
“A good number of Tyee readers made contributions without naming an issue most important to them. We are grateful for the flexibility that allows, while making sure that every one of their dollars goes to coverage of election issues, as well.
At a moment when corporate media is struggling to meet its bottom line and the CBC is seeing its funding cut, Tyee readers have sent a clear message that investigative reporting, especially during election time, is a high priority.
And this way of raising money to support that reporting is making some news even beyond B.C.’s borders. Here’s a story about us on the web-based Seattle Post-Intelligencer.”
The top three issues readers emphasized were corruption, environment and housing/poverty.
The fund ultimately topped $13,000, and as Beers told University of British Columbia journalism professor Alfred Hermida, the site’s editors expect it will hit $15,000. Watch Hermida’s interview with Beers on reportr.net.