Wow! Met Our Fourth Goal, On to Our Fifth: More Original Reporting

If you don’t need to be persuaded to give but simply have not gotten around to it, please proceed straight to our fundraiser page to chip in!

Thanks to your generous and speedy responses, we’ve achieved our first four targets: tech investments to improve your experience and harden our defenses, bonuses to our loyal guest writers (who given their expertise and caliber of their work, deserve better than underwhelming standard writer pay levels), travel and site coverage expenses for meetups and conferences; and providing the staffing for next year so we can improve our consistency of coverage without risking burnout of yours truly. Let me stress again that these are all things that your donations have and continue to make possible. And at 1003 donors, we’re over 80% of the way to our new goal of 1250 contributors for this fundraiser.

Our fifth goal is funding for more original reporting. Yes, I know, it may sound peculiar to ask for that at this point in the fundraiser. Shouldn’t we have sought that sooner?

But the reality is that all the things we’ve asked for are essential to keep the site going as it is now and keeping it fresh in its current format. For instance, rewarding our regular writers isn’t just important in and of itself to reward them for their above-and-beyond the-call-of-duty dedication; it also helps in bringing new writers on board.

Readers have told us that one of the things they particularly value about Naked Capitalism is its no-holds-barred coverage of financial and economic news, and increasingly of the power dynamics that drive them. Consider this comment from PlutoniumKun:

The last couple of years I’ve hovered over subscribing to a number of newspapers, but I’m glad I haven’t, partly because I’ve been increasingly disgusted at the reporting of vitally important issues by the so called quality press, but also because NC is so damned good I just don’t need to. Yves and Lambert shame many outlets with 50 times the resources, and the comments section doubles the value.

I’m happy and proud to contribute what I can

And from Scott Z via e-mail:

Thanks for another year of great reporting. Thanks also to all those working with you to provide some of the best online reporting around.

As you stated in the fundraising appeal, one of the major benefits NC provides is a forum for critical thinking. Democracy needs dialog in order to function, and NC, to me, is like a town hall meeting place. I am personally better prepared to confront the challenges ahead by reading your work.

And from Barry B:

In the aftermath of the crisis, the financial firms made a concerted effort at controlling news flow, and have focused even more energy on getting Washington DC on their side. That means the official messaging regularly aligns with the interests of the 1%, albeit sometimes artfully wrapped in Vichy Leftist garb, as our post earlier today on Hillary’s plan to rescue America’s retirements by letting Wall Street tap directly into your paychecks illustrates.

As the reader comments illustrate, one of the reasons we’ve been able to punch above our weight is the considerable and extremely high quality input we get from this community. I get so many good links from readers in my inbox that I barely need to survey the news (although I do as a matter of good order). And in the comments section, reader not only routinely flag breaking news stories, but also critique the reporting and add information. And the commentariat keeps us on our feet by taking issue with our posts when they think we’ve gotten something wrong or botched an argument by overly-hasty drafting.

But as much as this site makes an important contribution via analyzing and adding expert insights to news stories, our greatest impact has come via original reporting. For instance, both of the officials we forced from their posts, the SEC’s Andrew Bowden for seeking a job for his son from the very people he regulates at an industry conference, and getting the scandal-ridden Robert Klausner to resign as CalPERS’ fiduciary counsel, both resulted from stories that we broke.

We’d like to do more reporting, but we’ve discovered why journalists take umbrage at bloggers: An originally-reported story takes roughly four to ten times the effort of a blog post of commentary and analysis. Consider an example from the Columbia Journalism Review earlier this month:

In this economic environment, greenlighting time-consuming, in-depth reports that may get less traffic than lighter-fare articles has become increasingly rare. A recent report by Mother Jones in which a senior reporter worked four months as a corrections officer exemplifies this tension. The massive 35,000-word report exposed corruption in private prisons but conservatively cost $350,000 to produce and only brought in $5,000 in banner ads.

Now we admittedly have a leg up in that NC readers are self-select for an appetite for meatier content. And since we have expertise on a number of beats, we can leverage that both to identify promising targets for reporting and tackle them somewhat more efficiently than many reporters can.

Whistleblowers are another potential leg up, and some of our most important stories have come from them. But they are no panacea. We’ve found that under one in five can provide enough support for their story (no matter how compelling it sounds) for us to be able to develop a post based on it. And we typically need to spend some time with the ones who can’t deliver the goods before we have to tell them that we still need more information to move forward.

So that is a long winded way of saying that original reporting is costly but more and more important as the mainstream media is both running into budget constraints and becoming less intrepid generally.

Our target for original reporting is $35,000. We are already $2,715 towards that goal.

Im addition to continuing with our financial services industry spadework, we would have Lambert dig even deeper into Obamacare and driverless cars, and post election, we intend to keep an eagle eye on Social Security “reform.” We’d also like Jerri-Lynn Scofield analyze important legal decisions, and we anticipate she’ll have a lot to say on topics that are part of our beat, such as “code as law”.

So those of you who have contributed already, thanks again for your generous support, and we look forward to those NC fans who have just found out about the fundraiser to help make the site more successful.

There are multiple ways to give. The first is here on the blog, the Tip Jar, which takes you to PayPal. There you can use a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal account (the charge will be in the name of Aurora Advisors).

You can also send a check (or multiple post dated checks) in the name of Aurora Advisors Incorporated to

Aurora Advisors Incorporated
903 Park Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10075

Please also send an e-mail to yves@nakedcapitalism.com with the headline “Check is in the mail” (and just the $ en route in the message) to have your contribution included in the total number of donations.

Donate now to Naked Capitalism, whether it’s $5, $50, or $5000. If you can’t afford much, give what you can. If you can afford more, give more. If you can give a lot, give a lot. It will pay for itself, I guarantee you. This isn’t just giving, it’s a statement that you are want a different debate, a different society, and a different culture. As one reader wrote, “A small investment in our future, together.”

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4 comments

  1. Jon Claerbout

    Why would a life-long Republican give a bundle of cash to Democrat Bernie Sanders? Thanks to you guys! My first gift to a politician! I tell all my friends about you. Naturally, I don’t like most of Bernie’s positions, but like Trump, he’s not owned by Wall Street. Too bad Elizabeth Warren didn’t join either one of them. Could have been winning teams! Would have been her first step to the White House. I’m getting a PayPal account so I can help you out some more.

    1. Don Midwest USA

      Bernie is not a DNC democrat. He is a democratic socialist. Or, one could say he is a New Deal democrat.

      Bernie’s campaign exposed the corruption of the democratic party including rigging elections.

      Will Hillary stand for what she told when she gave a $275,000 speech or what she says on the stump when she is speaking to “citizens”?

      By contributing to Bernie you gave to a political revolution that is just getting off the ground.

      You are reading about the revolution here on naked capitalism

  2. IHateBanks

    Deeper reporting on aut-“ominous” cars? Wrap it up, I’ll take it! And make a second contribution

  3. reslez

    More original reporting? *rubs gleeful hands together*

    Some of my favorite posts result from Yves & crew stirring up trouble and then ruthlessly critiquing the resulting contortions. CALPERS, private equity, mortgage servicing settlements, on and on, all hugely important topics that I would know almost nothing about if not for NC.

Comments are closed.