Before continuing with our latest fundraiser update and appeal, I want to give a very deep and hearfelt thanks for how many of you responded quickly and vigorously to our alarm over the weekend via the post “We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming for This Important Announcement.” There, I was forced to tell the Naked Capitalism community that the fundraiser was so far from where it needed to be that unless the pace of donations picked up dramatically, I would need to take no pay for the upcoming 12 months and might even have to fund some of the site’s operations from my not-hefty savings. That outcome was not sustainable and would likely lead to a major downsizing or even site closure in late 2024.
Showing how committed many of you are to this community, we got a surge of donations as well as many agitated reader e-mails saying how Naked Capitalism is critically important to them and they were giving a second time (or a topped-up first time contribution) to make sure the site continues and prospers. Part of the emergency response was two readers quickly offering to fund a “SOS ‘Double Your Donations'” challenge, which many took up. We thus quickly blew through our sixth target of expanding our reach and are now on to the last one, which $45,000 for more original reporting. We are already $4,455 towards it!
We also surpassed our new donor (now donations) target of 1250 and have a new goal of 1500. Because I was finishing a CalPERS post and Lambert had other duties, the thermometers are behind but will be updated soon.
All of us here are very gratified and humbled by this response. For instance, from Flyoverboy:
In response to your Sept. 17 entreaty. You guys deserve it, and we need you. Thanks for your political and economic reality checks, Lambert’s Covid watch, all of it.
Thank you for all the wonderful reporting. I love the NC articles and all the interesting comments. I hope this helps and wish I could send more.
And Bruce F:
Thanks for continuing to produce outstanding journalism. I’ve been reading for more than 15 years. I hope you can keep it going.
Even though all of the wonderful readers responses have averted worst-case outcomes, we are still in catch-up mode donation-wise. So please help out if you haven’t yet! The Tip Jar beckons.
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 to 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.
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. (Some CalPERS watchers thing our reporting on Chief Investment Office Nicole Musicco being caught out with her son in courtside “owner” NBA playoff seats, which she could not possibly have gotten on a market basis, might have had something to do with her sudden resignation, but we doubt that even if that scandal contributed to her exodus, that it was the only factor).
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.
More recently, Lambert’s relentless Covid reporting was early to focus on *Covid is airborne* and encourage member of the community to practice layered defenses, which some have said they feel saved lives. Lambert has also documented the malfeasance of public health officials in not just not giving the best advice they could, but now willfully blinding themselves data-wise to preserve the political pretense that Covid is over, or alternatively, something we must passively resign ourselves to.
Similarly, Nick Corbishley keeps on top of the latest developments on the war on cash and how digital currencies are serving a Trojan horse for increasing the reach of the surveillance state. Conor has added coverage of geopolitical hot spots, from Africa to the ‘Stans to the Middle East, regularly puncturing press and military/intel state conventional narratives. KLG is providing important insights into scientism and other corrupting practices in science and medicine. Satyajit Das gave us an extensively documented series on “Energy Destinies,” the prospects for the much-ballyhooed energy transition. Yours truly continued to deflate conventional views (even those of the anti-globalists) on the Ukraine war, the wobbly state of China’s economy, and the ambitions versus the likely progress of the de-dollarization push.
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.
Again, our target for original reporting is $45,000. We are already $4,455 towards that goal.
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 PayPa and our new payment service Clover. There you can use a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal funds (at PayPal, 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
PO Box 110105
Brooklyn NY 11211-9997
Please also send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.”