How do you finance independent media?

We are often asked how StreetPress works and how our media is funded. The truth is, it’s not easy every day, and we’ve built our revenue model over the years. As we appeal for financial support from our readers, here we explain how we have developed our research and impact media over 12 years with our tight-knit and determined team and very limited resources. .

Real Indians know real ones

The first thing I think is important to say is that StreetPress is essentially indie media. When we launched StreetPress 12 years ago, we barely fit into a phone booth: Robin d’Angelo, Jacques Torrance, and I were three young journalists, none of us in our twenties from the school seraglio of journalism, but there we were. Where is this? Halfway through a small studio given by historian Patrick Weil (so no doubt an early StreetPress backer). And the money at the beginning? It’s simple, we didn’t have it : a total of 5,000 euros borrowed from the bank under the pretext of doing business in my home.

We gradually professionalized StreetPress, strengthened the team, sharpened our editorial line, and improved our methods. But we know where we come from. We know we don’t have big shareholders behind us, every time we run into a deficit there is a risk of the whole project collapsing. No one fills our overdrafts. So we climb the steps step by step, being careful not to break your neck trying to go too fast.

In any case, we have nothing to do with this media, launched with great fanfare in startup mode, with investment funds and billionaires behind them (hello Konbini et al), we keep our faith, we know why we are here and especially where we are going…

The StreetPress business model was a bit like squaring the circle…

Faith in journalism, of course, but with what money? Building the StreetPress business model was challenging. First, we proceeded to eliminate:

> There are no rich oligarchs to fund us : Given the damage Drahi, Bolloré et al have done to independent media, we had to move on.

> No or (really very little) advertising. We had to choose between competing for viewers with Putaclic articles or producing quality information with readers who trust us over time. If we have advertising from time to time, it is from brands or entities with which we share our values, especially through ads that are automatically displayed on our YouTube channel when our videos are not demonetized by the platform.

Therefore, we – we have to be honest – started with darkening. We didn’t have the stones, but we had a lot of will to develop StreetPress and grow the team. So, I knocked on the door of NGOs, institutions or brands that I offered the services of StreetPress studio, because we know how to shoot videos, write articles. They offered to make a video or magazine for them without StreetPress showing up. We’ve produced some great ones NGO Associations such as Doctors of the World, Secours Populaire, Feminists against cyberbullying, the Free Press Foundation and we have recently helped other media such as Basta! or the wind blows. Also, municipal buildings and small enterprises call us and support our project. It was thanks to these incomes that we saved the first few years.

We also slowly gained a better understanding of how government subsidies to the media work. These revenues increase year after year and help us grow year after year. But be careful: this public money first goes into the coffers of newspapers owned by billionaires, and the independent media share a few scraps.

At the end of 2018, the StreetPress team is seven people : Mathieu Molard heads the editorial board and reproduces the research with Thomas Statius; Matthieu Bidan and Inès Belgacem set up a chain of mini-documentaries and launch StreetPress’ YouTube channel; aboard our poor ship are also Elsa Bastien (who has since joined our friends from Reporterre), Mathieu Bardeau and Said Belhamsali. Golden team. But now we find ourselves with zero money in the coffers.

After trying many things (we even tried mining cryptocurrency to fund media for our readers, with no success), we are up against a wall. We lack money to buy cameras, editing computers, expand and develop the team. One thing I’ve learned with StreetPress: if media doesn’t evolve, if it doesn’t set new goals, it recedes and becomes less and less useful. And the second thing I am sure of: if the media is no longer useful, if it is not supposed to serve the citizens, you may not bother to keep it alive, and it is better to consider and continue our battles elsewhere.

In short, at the end of 2018, we either have to find our revenue model or we have to go out of business.. I’ll ask for advice, and several people suggest that we develop a subscription model: content designed for subscribers, growing readership, recurring revenue, engaging…

Our struggle since our inception is that our investigations, documentaries, often dealing with the daily lives of young people and dangerous people, Those who are interested should read it first! A study denouncing repeated police brutality in a police station, a documentary about travelers and pollution in their reception area, a report on the mass closure of university restaurants, if the inmates, residents’ receptions, students can’t read, what good are they? Free access to quality information is a necessity for us.

Since 2019, StreetPress is free media funded by readers

At the beginning of 2019, after turning the issue of free access in all directions, we decided to turn it into a force, Media for “free”: readers who can contribute to media according to their meansand keep items accessible to everyone.

After a few months, this model changes everything for us: we are responsible to our readers first, the independence of our media is strengthened and we have a course! For three years, the support of our readers has only increased: 56,000 euros in 2019, 91,000 euros in 2020, and 138,000 euros in 2021. More than 6,000 readers have already contributed to StreetPress, has become a “free price” tool. Thanks to them, if you read us, we also thank you: you allowed our research and documentaries not only to exist, but above all to be accessible to everyone.

From now on, donations from our readers are an integral part of our revenue modelsimilar to newspaper sales or subscriptions for traditional media: You subscribe to an online newspaper or video platform, buy a daily newspaper or magazine and… support StreetPress for free.

This model we built together with our readers is virtuous: every disclosure published by StreetPress generates new contributions, are all ways to start new surveys. For now, these year-round donations are not enough to meet our revenue goals, and we must ask our community for financial support each fall.

The fundraising campaign we launched this week is a reminder that quality journalism comes at a price. StreetPress relies on its readers to run its business. We need to raise 80,000 euros by December 2 to finish the year balanced.

More than ever, we count on your support according to your means:

I hope these lines will clarify the meaning of this call and the goals we set for ourselves in the wonderful editorial staff of StreetPress: 15 journalists who fight every day to make your battles, our battles, visible. public discussion.

The StreetPress team. /
Credit: Yann Castanier

If you have other questions about our editorial or financial operations, I invite you to read the impact report we published this week.

If you want to discuss all this, talk about the economic model of the media or support us, I am at your disposal; Feel free to email me at jo (at) streetpress (.) com or @joweisz on Twitter.

very sincere

Joe Weisz
Founder of StreetPress

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