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Journalist Michael West launches independent news site, vows to pursue ‘the public interest’

Veteran business journalist Michael West has officially launched his new independent news website with an article about how major accounting firms are helping major companies avoid paying billions in tax.

The former Fairfax journalist launched the site, michaelwest.com.au, with the story which he noted had been due to publish shortly before he was made redundant by the publisher.

West“This story was scheduled to run in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age four days after I was sacked with three days notice,” West tweeted today.

The website also includes coverage of the energy sector and broader stories around the issues of multinational tax avoidance, a speciality topic of West’s.

“After 20 years of working for large media corporations we are finally off the leash and out on our own,” West told readers in a video. “This is an interesting project – it is independent journalism, we are going to look to do hard-hitting reporting on the likes of multinational tax avoidance and the developments in the energy sector, but really we will look at any story, anything in the public interest.”

At this point the business model behind West’s model remains unclear, with the journalist telling Mumbrella last month: “The business model isn’t settled yet. I’ve had interest from various funders and other parties wanting to do a joint-venture. I’ve had really good interest.

West has not ruled out an advertising-based funding model.

“Ad funding on its own, unless you have massive traffic, it’s hard to make a reasonable living. That may not be viable but I’m not ruling it out.”

West was one of a number journalists made redundant by Fairfax in its most recent round of cost cutting with the journalist announcing his departure on Twitter writing: “Last day today. Told my skill-set not aligned with Fairfax strategy going forward. ”.

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