Hooray! Met Our Sixth Goal, On to Our Seventh: More Original Reporting

If you don’t need to be persuaded to give but just haven’t gotten to it, please go right to our fundraiser page to chip in!

Thanks to your generous and speedy responses, we’ve hit our first six targets: investments in essential IT infrastructure, bonuses to our loyal guest writers, increasing staffing to provide for continued expanded Links; supporting the comments section; supplying the horsepower for our 24/7 coverage without burning out of yours truly, and funding to extend our reach.

Let’s pause here so I can apologize for not sending out individual thanks yous. We mention in the outset that our lean staffing makes would make that costly, in that we’d have to have me do that rather than generate content. Even though we run the risk of offending some, providing coverage is a higher priority. So we appreciate your forbearance and apologize that we aren’t clever enough to find a way to auto-generate missives.

Our seventh goal is funding for more original reporting. It may sound peculiar to request it at juncture. Shouldn’t we have asked for that sooner?

The reality is that all the the previous goals are essential to keep the site going. For instance, rewarding our regular writers isn’t just recognize their above-and-beyond the-call-of-duty dedication; it also helps in bringing new writers on board. And many of you have said that Links and Water Cooler are “must have” features. In the Trump era of news stories where the volume is often up to 11, finding the signal in the noise has become more daunting than ever.

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.

From Shaun:

I’m a Canadian expat living in Costa Rica (I’ve lived in six different countries and traveled to more than 30), and I do not agree with many of the views espoused on your site (myself being more a small government, libertarian type of person).

However, I find the quality of your site to be extremely high, your integrity exceptional, and the efforts made by you and your team to be fantastic.

Your site is the only site on the internet where I will think of reading the comments, and the comments in many cases will add valuable information to the articles.

Your site is a wonderful resource in today’s times, and I read it every day to challenge my own beliefs and to get a different perspective than my own.

Please keep up the good work, and my thanks to you and your staff for what you do.

And Mary H:

I wish I could send you much more, but it’s been a rough year. Thank you so much for all that you and everyone involved in NC do to make it the best blog on the internet. NC is part of my continuing lifelong education and I read it faithfully every day. Keep making waves and stirring up trouble.

And Christine K:

Thank you for all that you do. I am just appalled by the injustices we see all around us and the continuing decline of the U.S. I feel helpless. It’s a sad day when grandparents feel like the best future for their grandchildren lies in a country outside the U.S. Yet that is how I feel.

Still, I’m still not ready to stop fighting and so I do my tiny part by sending you this check.

It gratifies me to know there are people like you and your team who care as much as I do and are willing to commit so much of your time and considerable intellectual gifts towards making changes for the better.

I am in awe by what you and your tiny staff manage to do every single day on your web site. I learn so much from your own writings as well as those of the commentariat. Thank you many times over.

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.

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, all 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, the scandal-ridden fiduciary counsel Robert Klausner who had CalPERS as his client, and more recently, CalPERS’ former Chief Financial Officer Charles Asubonten, and this year, CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Ben Meng, all resulted from stories that we broke.

We also forced an industry-wide change in private equity by shaming CalPERS into disclosing how much it was paying via one of its biggest fees, the so-called carry fee. CalPERS’ change was widely described as a landmark. Even a guest speaker at CalPERS said its disclosures on fees and costs, which CalPERS made only under duress, had shaken other public pension funds into getting more serious about trying to contain them. Hubert Horan’s Uber series has led to reporters finally questioning the ride-sharing company’s fundamentals.

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 this example that we published last year an example from the Columbia Journalism Review :

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 Naked Capitalism readers savor meatier content. But even so, original reporting doesn’t just take much more gumshoe work than analysis of news. It also involves pursuing leads that often don’t pan out. And it also can require meaningful hard dollar expenses, such as paying lawyers to pursue FOIAs when the government agency gives an obviously phoney-baloney excuse for withholding documents. Even a round or two of legal saber-rattling runs into thousands of dollars.

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 $45,000. We are already $6,350 towards that goal.

Im addition to continuing with our financial services industry spadework, we would have Lambert dig even deeper into Covid and healthcare. We’d also like Jerri-Lynn Scofield analyze important legal decisions, and to have her and Lambert keep pursuing our “code as law” beat. And crapification is only getting worse.

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
164 Peachtree Circle
Mountain Brook, AL 35213

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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5 comments

  1. Tom C

    I keep trying to donate by credit card, from Australia. Enter all the data, give permission for cookies, tick the box that I have read the privacy statement, then click donate.
    It keeps saying that something went wrong and it did not go through.

    I have tried about 6 times now. Frustrated at pay pal for not saying what is wrong.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I am so so sorry. I had wanted to call PayPal yesterday but my schedule got out of hand (PayPal has used Covid as an excuse to cut its customer support hours). Will do so tomorrow.

      Reply
  2. The Historian

    Please don’t apologize for not thanking us individually. We should all be thanking you for having the insight and courage to create and maintain a site like NC that not only provides us with such good information about what is happening in our world but gives us a place to talk to each other about it too!

    Reply
  3. johnherbiehancock

    I just donated again.

    I agree with the above comment; no need to thank us individually… keeping this site going is all we ask!

    I’ll add a personal note: this site has helped me stay SANE during this pandemic, and indeed, the accuracy and insightfulness of the information provided might have saved lives, as I’ve used it to convince elderly relatives who were still traveling in late March of the seriousness of the contagion, which lead them to wear masks & gloves on airplanes, and wipe everything down first, and also lead to my girlfriend convincing her immuno-compromised mother from taking an extended trip to Mexico just as things were getting bad there.

    The article on Samuel Pepys & how he was able to personally benefit through the London Plague & pandemic in 1665-1666 also served to inspire me a bit, and remember that there are always opportunities, no matter how dire things might be.

    As a final note, I became a regular reader of this site due entirely to the WaPo’s unhinged “PropOrNot” article. So… some good came out of that!

    Reply

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