Your antidote to the daily news grind

De Correspondent is a member-funded journalism platform for independent voices. We launched in 2013 with a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign in the Netherlands, raising $1.7 million from some 20,000 backers. We are now 56,000 members strong and fiercely ad-free.

We cover stories that tend to escape the mainstream media’s radar because they don’t fit neatly into the drama of the 24-hour news cycle. De Correspondent provides an antidote to the daily news grind – shifting the focus from the sensational to the foundational, and from the attention-grabbing headline to the constructive insight. We refuse to speculate about the latest scare or breaking story, but work instead to uncover the underlying forces that shape our world.

We’re working with Jay Rosen to bring our model for collaborative journalism to the US, as The Correspondent. Find out more at Nieman Lab and at the Membership Puzzle Project, our joint research site with NYU’s Studio 20.

De Correspondent's way of approaching the news business is almost the purest expression of a humane kind of journalism.
— the Guardian

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Where journalists and readers meet

An integral part of De Correspondent’s approach to journalism is collaboration with our members. Our correspondents serve as conversation leaders, each with their own chosen beat – from racism to climate change. They share ideas for stories before they start reporting and invite readers to weigh in with their own experience and expertise. After all, 100 physicians will always know more than one healthcare correspondent.

De Correspondent has solved the sustainability problem by becoming a world leader in member-supported journalism.
— Professor Jay Rosen, NYU

This ongoing conversation not only makes for richer, more engaging journalism, it fosters a new kind of relationship between readers and reporters: one based on knowledge and mutual trust. Journalists can draw on a ready network of member expertise, and members know that the pieces they help create are shaped by the wisdom of an entire community.

Read more about what readers can mean to reporters and why we’re convinced loyal readers and subscriptions are the future of journalism.

Our founding principles

At the heart of The Correspondent is our founding document from 2013 – a manifesto of sorts – and these core principles have informed how we’ve built The Correspondent:

1 De Correspondent provides an antidote to the daily news grind

De Correspondent’s primary objective is to redefine the concept of news. We don’t simply parrot whatever grabs the most attention, we publish original work that provides the greatest insight. Our correspondents cover important developments in their area of interest, rather than speculating about breaking news or the latest scare. Put another way, we don’t write about the weather, but about climate. We aim to uncover the underlying forces that shape our world.

2 De Correspondent challenges oversimplification and stereotyping

News tends to be dominated by sound bites, stereotypes, and clichés. De Correspondent challenges this oversimplification of ideas and perceptions, placing less emphasis on what is trending and more on what is truly relevant; taking the time for investigative pieces and creating a space for alternative journalistic formats; ensuring transparency about our own journalistic choices and dilemmas; increasing attention to fact-checking; and regularly addressing the influence of other media in our own reporting. Our efforts to tackle clichés and stereotyping also extends to our choices of images and illustrations.

3 De Correspondent is openly subjective

De Correspondent requires its correspondents to be engaged in the world they’re reporting on. That means we reject conventional journalism’s ideal of objectivity and have sworn off the classic reporting model of A says this, and B says that. Correspondents are fair and independent, yet also explicitly subjective: They evaluate, to the best of their ability, which side of a story is most credible – and they exercise transparency regarding their judgments. Correspondents view the world from their own personal perspective and through the window of their particular fascinations. As an organization, we have no common political ideology; as individuals, we do look at the world through a moral framework. So while De Correspondent does not have an opinion, each correspondent certainly does.

4 De Correspondent stands for constructive journalism

News tends to make people feel cynical and powerless: “So much is wrong with the world, and I can’t do a thing about it.” De Correspondent aims to counteract that effect with constructive journalism. This is a kind of journalism that not only brings problems and atrocities to our attention, but also proposes solutions – and ways to be part of those solutions. Constructive journalism is not the same as “good news.” It’s journalism that strives both to hold up a mirror to our society and to get society moving. We do not shy away from initiatives specifically meant to bring about societal change.

5 De Correspondent actively involves members in the journalistic process

De Correspondent does not simply broadcast information; it’s a platform where members can actively contribute to the journalistic process. Correspondents don’t see journalism as a one-way street, but rather as a dialogue between journalists and members, particularly those with professional or personal expertise on a given topic. The point of that dialogue is to share knowledge and experience regarding key developments of our times. That’s why correspondents share their ideas for stories and invite feedback, keep members apprised of their research with newsletters and notifications, and avail themselves of members’ expertise and experience to better their journalistic work.

6 De Correspondent is free of ads

De Correspondent is an ad-free platform. Disseminating messages (commercial or otherwise) for a fee is not permitted. Our business model is selling quality journalism to readers, not selling our readers out to advertisers. De Correspondent is, however, open to collaborating with non-interested partners and funds whose investments contribute directly to our journalistic goals. Any such partnerships are subject to one non-negotiable condition: full editorial independence.

7 De Correspondent thinks in terms of like-minded individuals, not target groups

De Correspondent is not created to reach a specific group of people who just happen to belong to a particular demographic category (e.g. well-heeled readers between the ages of 25 and 40). In short, De Correspondent does not think in terms of target groups. De Correspondent instead speaks of like minds. Anyone who subscribes to our journalistic principles and our vision, or who identifies with a given author and their worldview, is welcome to join. De Correspondent sees its readers not as a unanimous, amorphous group, but as curious, engaged individuals who cannot be reduced to demographics.

8 De Correspondent is committed to an enduring relationship with members

De Correspondent simply would not exist without our members, and maintaining a sustainable relationship with them is our highest priority. De Correspondent does not try to lure new members with benefits that existing members don’t get. For the sake of editorial independence, members have no say over journalistic content, but they can provide input regarding both the course set by De Correspondent and our investment policy. We continually take stock of member preferences, and we consult them when deciding on new investments.

9 De Correspondent does not strive to maximize profits

Although De Correspondent is a commercial, for-profit enterprise, we do not strive to maximize profits for shareholders. A profit ceiling has been stipulated in our statutes: Any profit distribution may not be greater than 5% of revenues. So at least 95% of revenue is reinvested in journalism. This keeps De Correspondent from becoming hostage to short-term profit motives. Returns are dedicated to journalism – not the other way around.

10 De Correspondent strives for maximum diversity

Journalistic editorial boards tend to be whiter and culturally more one-sided than society as a whole. In order to change that, De Correspondent has adopted a diversity policy. Our goal is to become, as a journalistic platform, as diverse as possible, with many voices. We prefer to hire people who make our organization more diverse in terms of cultural heritage, ethnicity, skin color, academic degree, sexual preference, and political orientation. Our conviction is that our organization will never be diverse enough. Diversity is not a target to reach; it is a continual endeavor.

11 De Correspondent stands firm on the privacy of our members

A common denominator for nearly all gratis services on the internet is that users pay for them by turning over their personal data. At De Correspondent our privacy policy prohibits us from collecting unnecessary personal information from our members. With respect to the data we do ask of our members, we apply the following criteria: 1) We collect only the data we are required by law to collect, or that is necessary for our platform to function correctly; 2) We do not sell this information to third parties; 3) Our reasons for collecting data must be explained clearly to our members; and 4) Wherever possible, members must have control over their own data.

12 De Correspondent is ambitious in its ideals, yet modest in its claims

De Correspondent is, in part, the result of frustration with the commercial, hype-driven, and superficial reporting that presently dominates news coverage. But De Correspondent was not born of rancor. Where collaboration with newspapers, magazines, or broadcasting services is of value for our mission, we will not spare those efforts. De Correspondent is not out to replace the current media landscape, but to enrich it.

Reach out

For questions, interview requests, or speaking engagements, please get in touch with Floor Milar at speakers@thecorrespondent.com.
If you’d like to know more about our CMS Respondens, contact Project Manager René Clerc at rene@thecorrespondent.com.
Editors and publishers interested in reprinting our articles may contact International Editor Maaike Goslinga at maaike@thecorrespondent.com.
Foundations and organizations that would like to help fund our work: please get in touch with Maaike Goslinga at maaike@thecorrespondent.com.

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