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The Global Mail faces closure after Wood withdraws funding

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 11.47.32 AMThe Global Mail faces the closure of its online operation after its philanthropist funder withdrew his financial commitment for the website

Businessman Graeme Wood had pledged $15 to $20m to fund the site over five years with a financial commitment of $3m to $4m a year when it launched in February 2012.

The philanthropic venture meant there was no advertising on the website, however the site failed to build a large enough audience to build a financial model around the site, beyond donations, and there has been wide speculation about its closure since Wood committed funding to The Guardian Australia in July.

However,  The Sydney Morning Herald reports Wood announced to staff in an email yesterday that he was no longer going to fund the site and that he would move to close on February 20 with the publication’s  staff of 21 to be made redundant.

Mumbrella understands that the site currently has an audience of around 120,000 unique users per month and 17,000 subscribers to its email. While Wood has pulled his funding, it is understood that staff on the website are eager to try and maintain the website through public donations.

Former ABC journalist and Media Watch presenter Monica Attard founded The Global Main with the slogan “Our audience is our only agenda”.

The site set out to produce longform and project based journalism with an ethos of delivering “quality, non-partisan, uncompromising and fearlessly independent journalism for independent minds,” she said.

However Attard left just three months after the launch, following reports there had been disagreements between her and Woods. CEO Jane Nicholls, a former editor of Time Inc, took on the role of editor in the interim before Lauren Martin was then made editor of the site.

It’s journalism has been recognised with three Kennedy Awards and Walkley Award nominations for feature writing, international journalism and investigative journalism, and staff photographer Ella Rubelli won the 2013 Walkley Young Journalist of the Year award for her pictures.

The Global Mail’s management and Wood’s office have yet to respond to requests for comment.

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