At the heart of the successful crowdfunding campaign in March of 2013, lies a founding document - a manifesto of sorts - that outlines ten core principles around which The Correspondent is organized:
Daily, but going beyond the latest news
The Correspondent will publish fresh stories on a daily basis, but it aims to uncover, explain, and highlight the long-term developments and underlying structures that have the power to shape our world, rather than speculating about the latest hype, scare, or breaking news story.
From 'news' to 'new'
The Correspondent prioritizes relevance over recentness, looks for alternative ways of doing journalism, is transparent about its journalistic choices and dilemmas, values thorough fact-checking, and takes into account in its own reporting the ways in which the wider news media shape our perceptions of the world.
Ideals over ideology
The Correspondent recognizes and values the fact that its authors are not objective automatons out there recording The Truth, but subjective beings, rooted in ideals and motivated by ideas. While correspondents are expected to be fair and accurate in their reporting, they are explicitly not expected to suppress the surprise, hope, anger, or enthusiasm that gave rise to this reporting in the first place.
Themes and connections
The Correspondent believes that dividing news into traditional categories like national, international, politics, and business, no longer makes sense in an increasingly globalized and networked world. The Correspondent aims for its authors to report on themes that transcend classic beats themes like privacy, energy, or the economy of the future.
Journalism before profit
While The Correspondent is a commercial, for-profit enterprise, its business model focuses on selling quality content to readers, rather than selling readers to advertisers. Subscription fees and donations are its main source of income, and at least 95% of revenue will be reinvested in journalistic endeavors and further development of the platform. The ultimate goal is to improve journalism, not to fill the pockets of shareholders.
From readers to participants
The Correspondent wants to establish a lasting and meaningful relationship with its readers. Seen as members of a community rather than simply consumers of content, readers will be asked to weigh in on the investment of new funds and encouraged to contribute their expertise on specific topics. The Correspondent believes that a one-way, producer-consumer relationship between a news medium and its readership is a thing of the past. While vigilant about its editorial independence, The Correspondent believes that active reader involvement is crucial for a healthy, thriving platform and sound journalism.
Partners, not advertisers
To keep from becoming beholden to advertisers, The Correspondent is entirely free of ads. The subscription fee paid by readers (currently equivalent to about $70 a year) is its main source of income. The Correspondent may enter into partnerships with third parties, such as universities or research institutes, but these partners will have no stake in the profitability of The Correspondent, and The Correspondent will be fully transparent about the nature and terms of such partnerships.
Like-minded individuals, not target groups
Because it is ad-free, The Correspondent does not have to think about target groups or tailor its content to please, for instance, well-heeled readers between the ages of 25 and 40. Instead, anyone who subscribes to the vision and mission of The Correspondent is welcome to join. The Correspondent sees its readers as curiosity-driven individuals who cannot be reduced to demographics.
Ambitious ideals, modest claims
The Correspondent does not pretend to constitute a substitute for existing, mainstream media; rather, it intends to supplement traditional media, filling a gap in the current news landscape by looking beyond the daily news grind. Being an addition rather than a replacement, The Correspondent will happily collaborate with other outlets if such collaboration seems fruitful and worthwhile.
The Correspondent is a digital medium available on computer, tablet and smartphone; in time, The Correspondent will also offer apps for Android, iOS and other operating systems. Sharing articles with non-members will be possible to a limited extent. The precise form and capabilities take shape through ongoing experimentation, as The Correspondent works with design agency Momkai to develop the platform to best serve online journalism.