The Media Fund will be an online, ongoing crowdfunding platform that collects monthly donations, and distributes that funding to alternative, independent and grassroots media. This is the first fund focused on addressing the problem of corporate dominance in the media, and will allow alternative national and local media to thrive, to better do their jobs, and to challenge,counter and redress the failings of the corporate media.
Throughout November, a team of volunteers are running a £10,000 fundraising campaign to cover the costs of start-up and development. Our aim is to reach our target by the official launch at the Media Democracy Festival on the 10th Dec, at Birkbeck College, London.
The Media Fund is a multi-stakeholder co-operative that offers membership either as a partner media organisation and recipient of funds, or a public user and contributor by monthly subscription. The money donated by audiences can be given generally to the Media Fund to distribute evenly amongst the participating media partners, or directed to an individual partner or partners specifically.
The project is spearheaded by Real Media, alongside a number of other independent media organisations across the UK, and the official launch will take place at the Media Democracy Festival on the 10th of December at Birkbeck College, University of London.
If deemed of a sufficiently high quality (in adherence to the National Union of Journalists' code of conduct), media organisations can become members of the fund by helping to cover the fund's minimal overheads in return for featuring on the list of potential recipients of donations on the Media Fund website and app. Public contributors will log in, choose the organisation(s) that they want to support from a list of quality-assured news sources and pledge a regular amount of at least £1 per organisation per month. There is no absorption of any portion of contributors' donations into the running costs of the site - every £1 donated to a particular organisation goes directly to that organisation at the end of every month.
The fund will bring alternative media organisations together to become more than the sum of their parts. We hope to go a long way to allowing them to survive in a competitive market dominated by vast multi-national corporations. The fund will also provide the infrastructure for further developments in democratic, co-operative funding of the media, such as specific funding pots for long-form, journalistic investigations and campaigns, and training, for example.
Why support the fund?
Funding has been a perennial problem for the grassroots news outlets that have otherwise flourished in the internet age. With no one successful revenue model available for these organisations, lack of funding has perhaps the biggest impact upon the quality and quantity of output, and even threatens journalistic impartiality.
With 80% of the UK press being in the hands of five billionaires, and our biggest broadcasting network under the increasing influence of the state, it is no surprise that traditional sources of media are increasingly out of touch with the population at large. The need for independent media in the UK is greater than ever, but this need can't be satisfied when financial issues are hindering the development of alternative news sources.
The Media Fund will allow independent media organisations to come together to surmount this seemingly intractable problem through co-operation - alleviating financial and outreach pressures whilst creating a space in which alternative media sources can collaborate to fund independent projects that would otherwise be financially unviable.