For the past year, we have been working on building Noteworthy, a new platform from the team behind TheJournal.ie.
It is a new way of connecting readers directly with journalism; designed to tell stories that might otherwise fall between the cracks. And it’s an experiment in both crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding.
We want to go direct to our readers to ask them what stories they would like to see investigated, issues that they feel are neglected.
With those ideas, we create workable proposals – articles that we are optimistic that we can deliver through in-depth research and diligent reporting.
We go back to the readers then, and ask them to help support us, either through donation or by spreading the word about these projects.
Noteworthy is just getting started and in the days and weeks to come, we will be publishing some of the stories that we have already been working on.
Since the first newspapers began circulating in the 17th century, journalism has followed a well-trodden path.
Mostly, editors and reporters would make decisions on what stories they would cover, hoping that they knew what was of interest to their readers.
That model of journalist as gatekeeper works well and is reflected in the enormous readership, listenership, and viewership figures we see right across the globe.
However, it also has a familiar hierarchy – keeping the audience a little bit at arm’s length, making all of the editorial choices on their behalf.
Noteworthy tries to flip that. Instead of us making all the decisions, the ideas and suggestions are sourced directly from the public.
You tell us exactly what you want to find out about and we will – where possible – research those stories on your behalf.
This type of journalism – in-depth, deep dive, investigative reporting – is not cheap. It requires long hours of research, countless phone calls, chasing up leads that sometimes go nowhere. And increasingly, media organisations when faced with difficult financial choices will abandon it.
We believe this type of journalism is what readers want and that they are willing to pay for it. We are looking for you to support the projects that you care about, to tell stories that you might not otherwise be able to read.
The Public Domain
Journalism, by its nature, can be a secretive business. Reporters guard ideas, contacts, and information … often jealously.
Noteworthy will also try to turn that on its head. We will put these ideas in the public domain for everybody to see. We will let people decide whether these projects are worth funding or not. And if other media organisations think these ideas are worth pursuing, so be it; Noteworthy will have served its purpose in helping get these stories told.
We will be transparent in our reporting. Not everything we do can be shared but we will make public as much as possible. If we have previously unseen records, we will make them available when worthwhile and possible.
Not every story can be told
Inevitably, in any project like this – there will be ideas that we cannot do.
We will, like every other media organisation in Ireland, have to contend with some of the strictest defamation laws in the world.
Sometimes, we might be able to gather nearly all the evidence we need to do a story but that final missing piece remains out of reach. We won’t forget those stories though and if more information becomes available, we will go back to them.
If a story doesn’t work out, we will tell supporters why and share material we have gathered whenever possible.
Noteworthy, as you see it now, is in beta. We are actively encouraging feedback from our readers and supporters on what we can do better. You can contact us at [email protected]
Ken Foxe, Editor at Noteworthy