Tell us a bit about Truthout. What inspired its start?
Truthout is a nonprofit news organization dedicated to providing independent reporting and commentary on a diverse range of social justice issues. Since our founding in 2001, we have anchored our work in principles of accuracy, transparency, and independence from the influence of corporate and political forces.
Truthout works to spark action by revealing systemic injustice and providing a platform for progressive and transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis. With a powerful, independent voice, we will spur the revolution in consciousness and inspire the direct action that is necessary to save the planet and humanity. For more on our editorial approach, please read Remaking Media in the Pursuit of Justice and A Call to the Media: Let's Go Beyond "Preserving Democracy."
Truthout provides daily, independent news and analysis to the public - in this day and age, what do you feel are your biggest obstacles in doing so and how do you plan to overcome them?
At Truthout, we are firm believers that ethical, independent news outlets are the only way forward in a media landscape overrun with misinformation. While there continues to be a true scarcity of mainstream attention to important political topics such as economic justice, militarism and war, education, reproductive justice, and health care and food justice, Truthout fearlessly faces off with and covers these topics regularly through both investigative reporting and trenchant commentary. We are always working to not only examine current injustices, but to also highlight movements for transformation and give a platform and voice to visionaries manifesting a more equitable future.
In the spirit of anticipating the obstacles we know independent media will be facing in the coming years, we collaborate with the most creative thinkers, journalists and activists we know to map meaningful trajectories towards a sustainable and livable future. We will continue publishing articles by both staff reporters and freelance investigative journalists and analysts, covering the most urgent issues of the day: from climate disruption to racial justice, threats to press freedom to campaigns to reform the US criminal legal system, foreign policy to the economy and beyond. These stories will be a light in the dark, sparking our collective imagination by disseminating novel and realistic strategies to meet the challenges we're sure to face.
To date, what would you say has been your most successful moment?
We're deeply proud of our work and progress over the past 17 years and it would be nearly impossible to pinpoint one specific moment. Our dedicated staff writers, editors and other staff work all year round and we publish seven days a week, 365 days a year.
To do all this and maintain complete editorial independence is no easy feat, especially at a time when hostility towards genuinely critical media from those in power is as fierce as it has ever been.
What are Truthouts goals over the next 5 years? How do you plan to achieve them?
Our goals over the next five years include continuing to uphold our commitment to radical independence, eschewing advertising dollars and corporate financial influence, while addressing the most serious issues that threaten our country, species and planet, including climate disruption, US militarism and global inequality. Support from our community will continue to be vital for strengthening Truthout's role in providing information the public needs in order to create and maintain a functioning and vibrant democracy.
How would you say that Donorbox has helped in your fundraising and campaign efforts?
Since our inception, the vast majority of Truthout's budget has been made up of donations from readers -- not a single cent of our revenue comes from advertising. The trend elsewhere in the industry continues to be reliance on funding streams such as advertising (not just in the form of ads on websites but also "sponsored emails" from third parties sent to the publication's mailing list), corporate backers who gain editorial influence from their investment, paywalls that prevent all readers from accessing all stories, or profitable side-projects that have nothing to do with their editorial mission. Even other nonprofit news organizations often receive backdoor corporate sponsorship -- a slippery slope to losing precious editorial independence.
So when we upgraded Truthout's donation process in mid-2017, we knew it needed to meet the needs of our readers. We needed a simpler solution to replace the unnecessarily long, complicated, externally-hosted donation form we had been using for years.
Almost immediately, we witnessed a dramatic increase in not only one-time donations, but also monthly donations.
In combination with an ever-evolving development strategy, Donorbox continues to be a key tool in our efforts to strengthen our sustainable funding streams, and to date we have raised more than $1,200,000 and processed more than 45,000 donations using Donorbox's platform.