The Correspondent will start publishing on September 30, 2019.
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News mostly is about what happens today, but rarely about what happens every day. It covers the most sensational exceptions, leaving you uninformed about the rules. The Correspondent wants to redefine what news is about, shifting the focus from the sensational to the foundational. Our correspondents cover the most important developments and underlying forces that shape our world, rather than speculating about the latest hype or scare. Put another way: we don’t cover the weather, we cover the climate, informing you about how the world really works.
The Correspondent is an ad-free platform. This includes so called sponsored content. We are funded by paying members. Our business model is providing you with quality journalism, not selling your attention to advertisers. The Correspondent is open to collaborating with media partners. We also accept funding from organizations whose investments contribute directly to our journalistic goals. Any such agreement will include one non-negotiable condition: full editorial independence.
The simplest way to make headlines is to insult a group of people and generate outrage. The flood of news coverage then leads to a second rage cycle aimed at media excess. This pattern reinforces some of our worst habits: stoking fear for commercial gain or political advantage, trading in stereotypes to trigger response. The Correspondent is committed to fighting harmful simplifications, and steering clear of breaking news that is meant to shock rather than inform. We try not to be driven by the fear of missing out, allowing us to dig deeper and fact check more thoroughly.
Consuming a lot of news can make you feel cynical and powerless. The Correspondent aims to counteract this effect by searching for common ground between different people, and by giving as much attention to solutions as we do to problems. We call this ‘constructive journalism’, not to be mistaken for ‘good news’. Constructive journalism tells the stories in a way that might get things moving in a different direction. We believe in journalistic activism, meant to bring about change.
Collectively, our readers know way more than we do about most of the stories we cover. That’s why The Correspondent does not simply broadcast information. When we cover something you know a lot about, we invite you to contribute your expertise and share your experience. That’s part of being a member. Correspondents share their story ideas and research questions from the start, inviting feedback from members to make our journalism better. We don’t see you as a mere news consumer, but as a knowledgeable contributor of expertise.
At The Correspondent, we don’t think journalists should pretend to be ‘neutral’ or ‘unbiased’. Instead, our correspondents level with you about where they’re coming from, in the belief that transparency about point-of-view is better than claiming to have none. We are not on anyone’s team. We’re not the voice of a party. And we believe facts matter. But we also know facts need interpretation to have meaning. That’s why we are open about the worldview and moral convictions that inform our storytelling, and we will change our minds if the facts tell us to.
Most free online services let their users pay by turning over their personal data. At The Correspondent, we minimize the data we collect about you. We only collect the data we are required by law to collect, or that is necessary for our platform to function correctly (such as login names and passwords). We do not sell this information to third parties. Our reasons for collecting data must be explained clearly. And wherever possible, members must have control over the data collected.
Journalism is at its best when it includes many different perspectives and worldviews. That’s why we seek to include people from a broad variety of backgrounds, both in our newsroom and on our platform. Our principle of inclusivity extends to the way we find writers, reach readers, and treat members. Expecting writers to have a point of view helps in recruiting a diverse staff. Members can share our journalism freely with anyone, expanding our readership. And we have an inclusive pricing model, so nobody is excluded from our journalism because of purchasing power.
For over a century, the dominant business model in the news industry has been selling the attention of audiences to advertisers. The end goal is to maximize shareholder profit by attracting as much attention as possible. At The Correspondent, our goal is to serve our members, maximizing trust instead of financial gains. That’s why we do not maximize shareholder return, limiting dividends to 5 percent of revenue. We do not accept investment capital that does not adhere to this dividend cap.
We know we’re not ‘the fix’ for what’s wrong in journalism, and we know that there’s no one way to do it. When we make mistakes, we admit and correct them. We will also be transparent about how we spend your money by publishing an annual financial and editorial report. And we will keep pushing ourselves to do a better job, inviting you to help. Together we will keep learning, about ourselves and the world around us.
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