Bravo! 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 means sending missives would mean fewer posts during the fundraiser. So we appreciate your forbearance and apologize that we aren’t clever enough to find a way to auto-generate thank yous.

Our seventh goal is funding for more original reporting. It may seem weird to have this as our final goal. Shouldn’t we have asked sooner?

The reality is that all the the previous targets 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.

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 Bonita:

NC is my most trusted news source. In a time when most of the news has an agenda NC is priceless. Please accept my sincere thanks for the work the NC crew do.

And Futility:

I don’t know anymore how I found NC, but I am tremendously grateful that I did sometime after the GFC the beginnings of which I experienced after being laid off from a really great job in R&D at a large hard disk manufacturer in the US (GFC created a cash flow problem for the company and R&D is always the first to go) and decided to return to my native country Germany. Still waiting for the crooks at the banks to be thrown in jail… not holding my breath, though.

I learned a lot here at NC about MMT, the endless political and economic propaganda around us, unbiased information about the Corona virus, Uber, the ‘gig-economy’ and a plethora of other topics I didn’t know anything about before. Checking out the daily link section is one of the first things I do in the morning (lately the sheer number of them is getting a little overwhelming, though) and reading the comments is always enlightening and I often find other tangential information about poetry, songs, good books to add to the (already much too long) list of books to get, or links to other worthwhile articles on other websites.

Just finished my donation! Many thanks to the great team at NC, one of the few sane places on the web!

And Thomas H:

I was introduced to the site nearly 3 years ago by Cory Doctorow when he boosted NC’s posts on Boing-Boing. Over time it has become a treasured information source and I’m grateful to you, Lambert, Jerri-Lynn, Nick, Jules et.al. for your diligent efforts. The commentariat is a feature, not a bug and I’ve learned so much from the whole package. NC is a bright, shining beacon of clarity and integrity in an otherwise untrustworthy over-hyped & hyper-commercialized Web.

And Dave D:

Thanks for all you, Lambert, and Jerri Lynn do. I don’t know how I would have survived the past two years with my sanity in place without the site.

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 $3,670 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 to continue to 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 (we like checks! no processor fees!) 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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3 comments

  1. Skip Intro

    Wasn’t much of the MERS/robosigning reporting also original? It was important even if it didn’t result in anything like an indictment or even resignation. I like to imagine some readers using that to contest their mortgages.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      It was the MERS fiasco that first brought me to NC as they were one of the few that were actually talking about it at the time.

      Reply

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