The Free Press Foundation organized a debate on the funding of independent press
During this event, the editors-in-chief of La Déferlante and Street Press presented their business models. While there is a debate about media hyper-concentration, it would be right to be interested in the funding of the independent press. Much of the aid is filtered through the institutional press, which is now in the hands of billionaires.
The Free Press Foundation is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to support the independent press. We saw that he organized first “independent discussion”On November 22, Christine Autain and historian Alexis Lévrier returned to the issue of media hyperconcentration. We couldn’t get back to it earlier because of Covid, but a second question was addressed during this event: the funding of independent media.
On this occasion, Mathieu Molard, editor-in-chief Street press and magazine co-founder and editor Marie Barbier A breaking wave He was invited to speak on this topic.
Whether Street press and A breaking wave Independent media have one thing in common, their history, profile and economic model are quite different.
Street press defined as “French radical left information site dedicated to investigative and urban cultures” Launched in March 2011 to bet everything digitally.
A breaking wave even if it’s a media showcase site and Newsletter, it’s only two years old and a quarterly review devoted to new feminist struggles that bet on paper.
Business model A breaking wave
To release its first issue in March 2021, A breaking wave started a crowdfunding campaign. “We wanted to collect 8 thousand euros and we collected 250 thousand. As feminist media, it was important to us to be able to pay all the women who contributed.”Marie Barbier commented to the media “Started with 3000 subscribers”.
“Last summer, we made a small equity investment with Médiapart, which returned to the capital, and many relatives, activists, who have been following us from the beginning who wanted to participate. We raised 75,000 euros when we did this round of financing.” adds the editor-in-chief The Breaker.
Marie Barbier cites a woven activist as an example “1000 euro inheritance from old transphobic aunt” and who preferred “Give it to La Derfelante”.
However, paper support is expensive and A breaking wave Despite having 7500 subscribers, it is still not balanced. For this, he had to reach 10,000 subscribers, which should not take long, because the topics addressed by this media meet real requests. to wait A breaking wave continues to solicit donations, particularly to fund its newsletter. “ “We are doing this more and more, which allows us to fund research on gender-based and sexual violence, which is very expensive.” the editor-in-chief emphasizes. According to him, “Besides the financial aspect, the Newsletter also helps strengthen public relations and is a means of testing surveys that may be of great interest.”
A breaking wave Although he benefited from the magazine, he did not require much funding “Like many media startups, the emerging stock market,” and took a helping hand Free Press Foundation.
The business model of Street Press
on the side Street pressits founder Johan Weisz-Myara started with very little resources. “When Joe founded Street Press, he had just finished his studies, took out a consumer loan and was loaned a part of the apartment by the academic Patrick Weil”explains Mathieu Molard “Street Press started with €5,000 excluding paper carrier”. “Media will grow very slowly, with the vast majority of revenue coming from Production Studio, which now accounts for only 30% of revenue. Then came some advertising. Street Press produces a lot of content on YouTube. We have enabled monetization, which brings us some money. Much less than what we produce, but not zero”.
Mathieu Molard notes that “Street Press is a commercial company”. “It allowed us to bring in shareholders, people who came back, and we put some money in. Most of the capital is owned by Joe, but he has no economic interest elsewhere, such as selling weapons. »
Street press turned to Crowfounding. “After three years, we established a reader support system. We want to stay free, but at a cost of free, in one or more installments, and we’ll be back every year to ask readers to come up with a balance. For example, I can’t do a survey about police brutality in working-class neighborhoods and it’s not read by the people who are victims of it, it’s not relevant.” says the editor Street press.
The media also created a newsletter that stood out during the presidential campaign against the far right.
“Donations from readers funded it, we were even an Open Society Foundation.” “The fact that the newsletter was running created a connection and even though we were out of the election year after a year, there were still 91 far-right MPs in the assembly and we decided to continue every month.”Mathieu Mollard explains.
“This Newsletter required an investment of between 70,000 and 80,000 euros, which allowed for the publication of 100-200 articles on the right”he adds.
The need to change the legislation on the financing of the independent press
When it comes to funding requests, Mathieu Molard believes that it is a “the main issue”. “At Street Press, we do not benefit from public assistance because the system was developed at the same time as all the papers were developed. The vast majority of aid to the written press at the French level is directed towards this direction, even if there are small funds that allow for the return of a few thousand euros here and there. »
Street Press is still a success “getting more important support indirectly by building a big project with independent European media and responding to a call for projects from the European Union.” “We need structural reform to fight media hyper-concentration, but some of the aid needs to be re-directed so that it is geared towards small independent media that benefit from very little aid. »