Impact story

The Correspondent: Designed for trust

By Luminate
1 min read

Trust in the media is in decline. In a 2017 survey by Reuters, less than half the people interviewed across 36 countries said they ‘trusted the news’. 

Just as media outlets are losing trust, they are also struggling for revenue. The industry’s ad-dependent models now overwhelmingly reward the dominant tech platforms over publishers and journalists. Driven by clicks, our news is skewed from considered reportage to sensationalism, further eroding its credibility.

The Correspondent’s unique ‘membership model’ gives their journalists the time to have more meaningful conversations with their readers. Members contribute to the reporting process and journalists listen to their audience, building trust and discovering the topics which matter most to them. Members pay a monthly or annual fee but can share all published content with non-members for free.

Meanwhile, only the minimum user data required to operate is collected from readers – and it is never shared with third parties. Originally launching De Correspondent in the Netherlands, the founders showed that it is possible to deliver powerful stories and build deep reader trust without relying on advertising or data collection.

Now they are launching in New York, Luminate is supporting them with a $950,000 investment to help them prepare for their member recruitment campaign.

Originally launching De Correspondent in the Netherlands, the founders showed that it is possible to deliver powerful stories and build deep reader trust without relying on advertising or data collection.

60,000

members are now signed up to De Correspondent

The Correspondent's approach also delivers sustainable revenue. De Correspondent launched in 2013 after crowdfunding a record €1.7 million in 30 days. It now has over 60,000 members and is 85 percent reader funded. Their model has since inspired more of our investees, including The Ken in India (which turned profitable in 2018) and The Bristol Cable in the UK.

 By supporting The Correspondent, we can help others emulate and improve this promising new model of independent journalism. Free from vested interests or advertising-led incentives,The Correspondent treats the reader as a partner, not a product.

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