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News website launches donor bid to invest in ‘talented journalists’

Ifan Morgan JonesA news website has launched an appeal for donations in order to help it pay for contributions from “talented journalists”.

Nation.Cymru, which describes itself as an “English language national news service for Wales”, has called for further financial support after three years in business.

Founding editor Ifan Morgan Jones, pictured, launched the site in 2017, but believes it currently “accounts for less than 5pc of what it can and needs to be”.

Ifan is the latest independent publisher to launch a crowdfunding initiative for his site, after Brighton and Hove News editor Frank le Duc launched a similar appeal on Christmas Day.

Ifan, who also lectures in journalism at Bangor University, has stated more donations would enable the site to reach a new audience, invest in investigative journalism, and covered a greater number of topics including, sport, business, technology, Welsh culture and history.

In a message to readers, he wrote: “Running the site voluntarily, on top of a full-time job, I simply do not have the time to spend commissioning and editing large numbers of articles and dealing with all the potentially interesting offers and story leads that flood into my inbox every day.

“And while we’re massively thankful for our army of voluntary contributors, ideally we would be able to pay them and also commission articles by a greater number of people who do not have the time or resources to write articles for free.

“Giving talented journalists the time they need to carry out any sort of investigative journalism – the kind sorely lacking in Wales today – is also prohibitively expensive. There is massive potential here – the stories are there and the audience for them – but because the money is not there the potential is not being realised.

He added: “What we don’t want to do is go behind a paywall and lose 95pc of our readers. There is no point maintaining the site if only the same small group of people already interested in Welsh news and culture will read it.”

“Ultimately the only way we can continue to expand and improve the site is with your contributions.

“We currently have 250 donors and we are massively thankful to each and every one of them for the money they give us. Some have donated more than a thousand pounds each towards the website.

“But surely there are more than 250 people in Wales that want to see the development of our own national media and all the opportunities that would bring.

“In contrast to the small number of donors, what we don’t lack for is readers enjoying our content. As already mentioned, in November over 200,000 people visited our site. If every one of those gave a small donation of £5 a month, we would be raising £12 million a year.”

“Together we can make a difference. Together we can give Wales the media that it needs. Please become one of our backers today.”

Nation.Cymru currently receives financial support from sources including the Welsh Books Council, advertisers and 250 individual donors.


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  • January 15, 2020 at 9:05 am

    Good luck with this Ifan.

    Having looked, this morning, at the impressive work done by Nation Cymru, I would say the professionally run website, particularly with its strong investigative impulse, is far more deserving of financial or other support than the big guns of JPi, Reach and Newsquest which have benefited from help so far.

    It really is about time that those in authority seeking to find ways to support local, democratic media, woke up the fact that there are some journalistically excellent and deserving recipients in the small, independent and hyperlocal sector.
    It’s exasperating to see the big beasts of the UK newspaper media – whose chief executives and boards, past and present, bear so much responsibility for the mess the industry is currently in – being gifted free staffing.

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  • January 15, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Totally agree with @ExArgus

    With so many of the best journalists and ad sales people now working in the independent local news sector and producing the level of grass roots content the bigger groups are no longer able or prepared to provide they need all the help support and encouragement they can get.

    The local communities recognise these new publishers as the main source of relevant and hyper local news in their towns and localities so it’s about time those handing out funding to the groups who’ve withdrawn from communities and have track records of failure,switch their focus and help fund genuine local news providers such as this one.
    Good luck to everyone at The NC and to all those independents across the U.K. giving local people the news they no longer get elsewhere

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  • January 15, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Content heads and daily editors are looking at the new free weeklies on their patches and secretly wishing they had the level of engagement and ‘real’ readers the local independents have, they certainly are where i am anyway.
    Likewise the commercial heads here are inwardly frustrated and envious at the number of local businesses advertising within these hyper local publications as they realise these community titles have the readers and them the paying advertisers, happy to pay fair prices to reach specific targeted local people.
    The success of the new publishers with their growing audience figures and popularity in the markets must surely make the bigger groups realise the trick they’re missing by abandoning print and going full on digital which, while attracting more and more non paying viewers, the ad people still can’t make the news pay.

    These successful independent publishers have put print first and foremost and added online associate news web sites and social media postings alongside, a policy I’ll bet the ones managing reduced readerships and falling sales, with hindsight,now wished they’d adopted themselves.
    Time to stop funding the yesterdays men and also rans and to invest in the grass roots independent businesses who need support both in terms of financial help and with staffing

    Good luck to Ifan and the team on this venture, I wish you well!

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