Optimizing a news organization for trust: Lessons from De Correspondent's success in The Netherlands
Founded in 2013, the Dutch startup De Correspondent is the most successful member-funded news site in the world. It now has 56,000 members paying 60 Euros a year because they believe in the mission, a budget of $3.5 million, 21 full-time correspondents, 75 paid freelancers, and a supporting cast of 25 editors, developers and business people.
No ads. No sponsors. No fat cat donors. No foundations that can cut off funding. No tracking. No clickbait. No targeting. No captivity to the daily news cycle. The model grants broad latitude to the writers to define their own beats and decide their own reporting projects. In exchange they are required to bring readers into the reporting process and treat members as a knowledge community. It works: They have an 80 percent renewal rate, which is very high for a membership community. Now they are planning to expand to the U.S.
Jay Rosen of NYU is working with De Correspondent on its expansion plans. He will explain how their "writer = knowledge community" model works and answer questions about member-funded journalism. He will also explain how De Correspondent optimizes everything it does to generate user trust. Bring your experiences with crowd-sourcing and reader engagement in the reporting process, and we can compare notes.
Jay Rosen teaches journalism at NYU and writes the blog PressThink. He is currently working with the Dutch site De Correspondent on their expansion to the U.S. @jayrosen_nyu
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