openDemocracy, the digital commons that's been providng news and opinion articles since 2001, have announced that they need to raise £250k by March 31st, or they’ll close. They’ve raised much of this already, but are asking those of their readers who can to help them raise the crucial last £30,000.
As their Editor-in-Chief Magnus Nome put it in a post last week:
We know you want fresh investigation, strong ideas and good writing to address the extraordinary events of our time. We also know you don’t want to pay for it. We don’t either. We like our web free.
Web publishing is increasingly dominated by giant corporations and lone bloggers. To keep open and independent spaces like openDemocracy alive with a richness of content and a variety of voices, we need the help of those of you that can pitch in.
We whole-heartedly agree with this. We’d also be devastated to lose oD from the growing cadre of not-for-profit, independent, public interest web publishing groups which offer something more than mainstream media or individual bloggers can alone.
Where else could you have seen pieces like their painstaking report on the level to which the BBC failed to properly inform the public of the nature of the coalition NHS bill? And considering this failure of the mainstream media, where else would have provide the sort of coverage of the NHS we’ve seen at the oD’s “Our NHS” series?
Discussing the issue over the weekend, the NLP editors remembered a lot of other bits of oD’s content we’ve been grateful for recently. Other things that came to mind include their thoughtful discussion of the role and future of the BBC in British public, OurBeeb, which the report on NHS reform coverage came out of, and a great series on networked activism mostly produced in heat of the political upsurge of 2011. Also, Paul Rogers writings and Vron Ware’s column, the Uneconomics series, Arab Awakening and the recent one on republican economics. We also really like the way oD can bring liberals and leftists together. It’s not just about radical views for radical readers.
Those were just the first things that came to our minds though. There are loads more. The threat of closure is a good excuse to spend some time on the site, looking at the rich work they produce, reminding yourself of your favourite pieces or series, discovering more and thinking about how much you’d miss if it went.
With thanks to the New Left Project.