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Crikey launches crowdfunding campaign to finance investigative journalism project

News and current affairs website Crikey has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the investigation of an undisclosed “nationally and globally important” story.

The Crikey Digs crowdfunding campaign – which it promises is the first of many – follows The Guardian’s successful funding for its Wide Brown Land series. The Guardian’s project saw the original target goal extended from $50,000 to $150,000, while Crikey’s target is a more modest $15,000.

Ben Birchall, Crikey’s associate publisher told Mumbrella: “We were talking about crowdfunding before the Guardian’s campaign, and looking at other independent publishers like New Matilda, but we watched the Guardian’s campaign with interest.

“It is heartening to see that when people are given the opportunity, they are willing to contribute to make investigative journalism happen. That’s been the overwhelming feedback we’ve had so far from readers who have contributed.”

Crikey publisher Tamsin Creed promised the campaign, which has be launched on Australian crowdfunding platform Pozible, will be “a big, juicy, important investigative journalism project.”

“It’s the first of several we have planned that need additional funding. If subscribers and readers decide to contribute that funding, we’ll press the button and start digging.”

Birchall said the decision to be vague about the nature of the project was deliberate.

“We discussed how much to give away at length, but chose to only share the themes as there is some sensitivity about alerting the broader industry before we commence our investigation,” she said.

“In some ways, the vague description may have helped the fundraising, as the feedback and comments has been very pointedly about government accountability, and turning the Crikey eye onto that.

“We realise that we are asking people to take a leap of faith, and we take that very seriously. We will brief contributors to this first Crikey Dig regularly throughout the project, including how the money is being spent. As a publication based on a subscription model, we didn’t take the decision lightly to ask for further contribution.”

Contributors can choose to donate at four levels starting at $1 upwards which offers no benefits, $25, $50 and $100. At the top, ‘Gold Digger’ level benefits include three confidential briefings with the series editor and staff to discuss the project and its modus operandi.

The funds raised will pay for a senior editor to lead the project, a small team of researchers along with the production support and incidental expenses. The campaign will close on April 7.

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