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Russia Insider is Launching Crowdfunding on March 10

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Dear readers,

It's been an interesting 5 months since we started this site in late September of last year.

We originally thought this would be a small blog where I and a handful of friends could sound off about the ridiculous media coverage of Russia, and we were deluged by people from all over the world who wanted to contribute and help out.

We quickly became a broad-based volunteer movement, mostly from Western Europe, the US, and Canada, and it is really our volunteers who have made RI into what it is today.  So first of all, a huge Thank You! – to the writers, translators, loaders, designers, copy-editors, people who send us tips and feedback, and especially to our readers.  We are truly humbled by what you all have made possible.

Screen shot from our video on Thunderclap

I should mention especially the amazing comments we get on the site.  Incredibly, we have received over 31,000 since starting, and they keep increasing.   We are currently getting about 600 comments per day!  Many of them are truly erudite and valuable contributions to the discussion, and show a seriously engaged readership.

Also interesting is that our support comes evenly from across the political spectrum, from the progressive left to the conservative right, and many, many people somewhere in between.  It seems that everyone can agree on one thing - that our media has seriously lost its way, and is no longer doing an acceptable job informing us citizens.

Since starting, between our site and our Facebook page, we’ve racked up almost 20 million views!, and we are able put up an average of 40 headlines per day. Our stats are public. You can find them in the footer of any page. If you click on the counter, it will take you to more detailed information.

Its official - we've become one of the biggest news resources about Russia. (Graph shows popularity ranking of websites globally)

The feedback and encouragement we have gotten from readers from all over the world has been so overwhelmingly positive, we’ve decided to reach out to our community, and beyond it, and crowdfund the resources to tell the story even more effectively.

If we could do this much with a bunch of volunteers, we figure we can do 10 times more if we can put paid journalists on the job.

Our campaign will be on Kickstarter, the largest crowdfunding platform in the world, on March 10. I'll be posting updates as we approach our launch date.

We’ve studied how crowdfunding works, and I want to share three basic rules:

  1. Social media.  Share, share, share:  Promotion on social media has a huge effect.  If you can make a contribution, that is great.   But also, if you can, please share, like, tweet, and whatever, on social media as much as you can.  This has a huge amplifying effect.  We have posted our campaign on a site called Thunderclap, which allows one to register one’s support for the campaign before it actually launches.  When the campaign launches, Thunderclap posts for everyone who has signed up in one massive volley, amplifying our campaign.  It's hugely effective, so if you are inclined to, please go there and register your support.

  2. If you plan to contribute, please do so in the first few days of the campaign: This makes a big difference, because the more successful a campaign is in the first few days, the more attention it attracts on the crowdfunding platform, and the more it gets written about by media which, in turn, brings in more contributors.

  3. Any amount helps:  Even if you can only spare a couple $, it helps.  This is because a campaign’s success is measured not only by how much is raised, but by how broadly it is supported.  The more people contribute, the more the campaign is promoted and noticed on the platform, and the more the media write about it - this all has a snowball effect.

We are also taking the unusual step of promising to only spend the proceeds of the campaign on content - i.e. journalists’ salaries.  We are able to do this because we have commitments from large donors who are willing to see to it that as long as we can produce it, it will get published. Also, increased and improved content will drive advertising revenue.

Also, a quick note about our minimum $ goal on Kickstarter.  We set it at $20,000, because they require a number, and since we’ve never done this before, we settled on that.  We believe we can raise substantially more, so please don’t hold back if you see us approaching it.  Let's do our best to exceed it as far as we can!

As we move forward with the campaign, I’ll be posting regularly about our progress.

We have also substantially expanded the "about" section of our site, in order to be as transparent as possible about who we are and what we are doing.  If you haven't checked it recently, you might find some interesting information there.

Let me close by explaining again the mission of our site.  

We got started because a handful of us were fed-up with the over-the-top anti-Russian bias in the media.  But once we started digging into subject, and seriously analyzing what was being written, we realized that the issue was much bigger.  

We discovered the many brilliant people who have exposed media failure on a whole range of issues - Wall Street corruption, militarization of police, the NSA leaks, whistleblowers - people like Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, Ben Swann, Noam Chomsky, and many more.  We want to build on what they have started.

We are very much a work in progress, and what we are evolving into is a serious media criticism project.  We plan to throw serious resources at analyzing and deconstructing media failure across a wide range of subjects, and to propose solutions to fix the problem.

The more of us join in, any way we can, the more we can do.  The problem is fixable.  

Please help us make it happen.

Charles Bausman


Russia Insider


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