Where do you get your news? It used to be an easy question to answer: local papers, magazines, and three major networks ruled the public bandwidth, with radio and journals filling in the gaps. The advent of the 24-hour news cycle ushered in a new era of information overload, and now the Internet has completely overwhelmed the public sphere with thousands of sources of news, “news,” satire, propaganda, entertainment, and bald-faced lies. What’s worse is that even when important issues are reported on, you’re left in a rage hole without any action to take. Move on to the next outrage of the day, and smooth out the rough parts with cat pictures.
Journalists are supposed to sort through the noise for you and get you factual accounts of events and issues relevant to your life. How’s that working out for you? Major media outlets are hobbled by their moneyed benefactors, whether it’s super-rich shareholders or governments. Independent outlets are stuck publishing clickbait to pay the bills, or cutting on quality control and letting the crazies publish whatever they want. There are a few exceptions, but the situation is so bad most of us are counting on our social networks to filter the firehose for us.
We built Rebel News for one purpose — to bring you substantial, well sourced journalism. Remember journalism? News should do more than titillate or enrage. It should connect us, inform us, and educate us. Most of all, news should be actionable. News should be better. What better looks like is open to interpretation, but the need for editing, fact-checking, and independence is not.
We get you involved in creating solutions. Anger might drive site traffic, but on its own, it doesn’t do anything. Rebel News will help you go beyond that, and take action.
The best part? We’re not asking you for the funds to build our site. It’s up and running and already has our “first round” of content. If you like what you see, help us keep the lights on and pay our fantastic talent!
What Will You Be Able To Find On Our Site?
- Articles covering the most important news of the day and historically and culturally important subjects that speak to the larger issues.
- Our “Take Action” box. Want to know the next steps to take? Find out about event listings, protests, petitions, donation links and otherwise interact with the groups already involved in making a difference.
- Long-form investigative reporting.
- A forum to discuss issues, share skills, and plan events.
- Recurring columns.
- Podcasts, beginning with our content in auditory form.
As we grow we want to add more podcasts, video coverage, photojournalism, and data visualizations.
We aren’t without our biases. Purely objective reporting is a fairy tale. We are, however, one of only a few news sources to put those biases right out in the open.
- No unverifiable conspiracy theories. Extraordinary claims must be backed up by extraordinary evidence.
- No “click bait” titles or content. We aim to inform, not to trick people into reading.
- No “outrage porn.” Sure, some of what’s happening in the world is bound to piss you off, but anger is only the first step. We’ll add action items to these posts to make sure you can vent that anger in the right direction.
- Disrupt the echo chamber. We’re not here to reinforce, we’re here to challenge — interrogation is only good when it’s our ideas that are in the chair. Our rebellion is against complacency.
- No gossip or irrelevant content. All stories should in the end relate to our core issues.
- There is no exit strategy. We’re here for the long haul, and entirely mission based. We want to grow only as it actually improves our ability to perform our mission.
- Pay our writers. Many sites pay a paltry sum, or don’t pay writers at all. That’s fine if it’s purely a labor of love, but it’s not a sustainable way to run a business. We intend to pay freelance writers a percentage of the ad revenue on their posts, on top of a flat rate.
- Giving a platform to a diversity of voices. We will strive to provide a medium for voices that are often suppressed and marginalized.
With your help, we can continue writing the stories that get behind the political and corporate smokescreen. Is it possible to keep the lights on without pandering or being owned by millionaires? We intend to find out.
Traditional investment models — the kind that require going to meetings in board rooms with big tables and rich people — come with opinions, constraints and all sorts of other conditions that shouldn’t influence the way the world gets its news. We believe that by appealing to to the audience directly, you’ll be able to best reflect the Rebel News you want to see.
Where The Money Goes
Directly to the those coordinating, creating, and curating content: writers, editors, graphic artists. All the business costs, accounting, paying for software, web tools and applications that are needed to run the website right. Now for some transparency.
The $65,000 we’re asking for will keep us going for just over three months with everyone getting paid a living wage. We hope to get more than that and we’ll use the stretch goals to add more editors, writers, and features. The stretch goals will include podcasting, video and more. The initial goals are listed near the bottom of the page. (“Everyone” in this scenario refers to the people listed below in the About Us section).
Three months might not sound like much, but we have confidence in our ability to bring in enough revenue to stay alive through the methods laid out below.
At our current pace we anticipate expenses of around $18,500 a month. To some this might sound like a lot, to others it will sound laughably low. This amount will cover 5 people working full time. It will allow us to keep all the freelancers we currently have and add more new writers every month. It will also let us start work on more long-form investigative pieces.
One of the first questions we get asked when talking about this project is: Journalism is expensive, how will you make money to cover the costs after Kickstarter? Honestly this is a tough question, especially in this field. Everyone is scrambling to figure out the next revenue model. Many news outlets have turned to paywalls and sponsored content. These are two things we are vehemently against. We don’t want to put up any barriers to access.
We hope to work through the revenue problem with the help of our users. The first thing we plan on doing is using advertising to generate some of the money needed to run Rebel News. Many of us use ad-blockers, and that includes the staff here. We all run tools like uBlock, Ghostery, Privacy Badger, and Ad Block Plus.
Patreon will allow our ad-blocking audience to support us directly. For anyone blocking ads on our website, we will show a little image asking them to head over to our Patreon page and sign up for a small monthly pledge to keep us running. This lets everyone continue blocking ads and tracking code while still allowing us to pay writers a fair amount for the articles they contribute.
Beyond these, we are looking to incorporate complementary revenue streams to help us keep afloat.
This is a no cost way for you to help us make a difference. Donate 1 tweet to your Twitter followers per day/week/month to Rebel News (or post on your Facebook wall.) This means that, based on the frequency you choose to allow, you are giving RN permission to send messages to your account that will be automatically retweeted to your followers. Sign up now, you’re free to cancel anytime.
We’ve assembled a team of devoted writers and editors, driven to cover the important aspects of our ever-changing world.
Gregg Housh is an activist focused on internet freedoms, censorship, over-prosecution, Anonymous, police brutality and a lot more. Before becoming an activist he spent much of his teens and early 20s evading an FBI task force while helping to operate some of the Internet’s foremost software pirating rings and otherwise living the life of a criminal hacker. In 2000 the chase was finally over and he was arrested. The next 7 years were spent in and out of court until he plead guilty to conspiracy to violate copyright laws in 2007. He was incarcerated in a federal penitentiary, including his first 27 days being spent in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) used for solitary.
It was this harsh treatment over many years that led him to activism. In 2008 he played a key role in Anonymous’s first global protest against the Church of Scientology. Soon after helping to organize these events, Scientology spent a good amount of money to find, publically name, and attempt to get him prosecuted by the city of Boston. Housh then began serving as a media interpreter and interview subject for newspapers, websites, radio and television. He has appeared on countless news programs and been quoted in publications around the world; meanwhile, he has started consulting for hollywood shows when they need hacker characters (most recently for House of Cards.)
James Curcio is a bewildered madman with a sledgehammer made of words. That’s a bit long to put on a business card, so he usually goes by “editor” or “creative director” or “cat-wrangler.” His checkered career began around 2001 when he graduated from Bard College with the world’s most lucrative degree — Philosophy — and co-founded a media collective. That did surprisingly well until it didn’t, so he moved on to Los Angeles to play in a band, and have “JOIN MY CULT!” published. This was a Burroughs-esque satire about 90s counterculture groups that no one seemed to recognize as satire. Several books and startups later, he’s still keeping it irreverent, but has since developed a keener appreciation for fact. He lives with lions somewhere in the mountains, probably.
Anna Geoffroy was raised by nerds in “the People’s Republic of” Amherst, Massachusetts, where she was introduced to social justice, pen names, and dressing like an idiot. She participated in the 2008 Anonymous protests against the Church of Scientology, where she took on a behind the scenes role as propagandist, local organizer, and strategist. Her words have appeared in press releases, her videos have been featured in newscasts, and her flyers and graphics have been used around the world.
Initial Employees and Freelancers
Gijs Eijkelboom – Social Media Strategist
Gijs Eijkelboom is a social media wizard based in the Netherlands. With his focus on global activism, he gained the support of millions of followers on Twitter. He is also active offline and behind the camera, engaging in protests against government surveillance, war, and corruption scandals.
Ethan M. Long – Staff Writer
Ethan Long is a journalist based in the city of Boston. Graduating a couple of years ago from Suffolk University, he has been freelancing in lieu of selling his soul to marketing agencies. His interests includes human rights, first amendment law, and utilitarianism. He wants to know what you want to read about, as long as it has nothing to do with Matt Damon or Tom Brady.
Freelance writers: Marc Simms, Damien Williams, Will Park, Jack Marsh, Rusty Shackleford, many more coming soon.
Freelance cartoonist: Chris Keelty
Stretch goals shouldn’t add more pledge levels, and t-shirt designs. These goals should be about the company and about what we are trying to do. So our goals will be all about journalism.
$100,000 – More audio!
The site will start out with every article read and playable on the article page, and as an rss feed compatible with iTunes, most podcasting apps and everything else that supports the standard format.
At this stretch goal we will also do a weekly podcast with multiple Rebel News staffers, freelancers, and guests talking about the weeks most important news.
$140,000 – Translations!
This level lets us translate our content into multiple other languages, leading to a much wider audience and a bigger chance of success! Based on a few sources we have selected these languages to run first: Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, German and French.
$175,000 – More research!
At this level we add two research assistants and a fact checker. These people will help us with longer pieces, followups and investigative journalism.
$220,000 – More writers!
This goal gets us two more staff writers covering our weekly columns and handling more interviews
$300,000 – Our technicolor dream!
The podcast magically turns into video and gets a set. We have a pledge from a builder of Emmy award winning sets. He has offered to build our set and help us get this up and running. With your pledges and his help we will have a broadcast quality set.
If somehow we’re livin’ the dream we’ll have to come up with some more goals. We’ll update if that happens 🙂
Surveys, Fullfillment, and Additional Orders
Many projects end up having problems with these two important steps. To make sure we don’t have any issues we have researched and partnered up with the best companies in the industry.
For surveys and adding more items to your pledge we are working with BackerKit
Amplifier will be doing all of our fulfillment. They will also be making most of our reward items for our pledge levels via another company they own, Merchify. So they will take the data from BackerKit, make most of the products, and handle all the packing and shipping. We’ll be shipping them any products they don’t make in-house.
-Music in our video by Kai Engel
Risks and challenges
“The News Media is dying.” Actually, it isn’t. But it is changing, and change means turbulence. We are compensating for many of these challenges — instilling a credo and editorial process that applies to every post we run, and putting in the up-front labor to build a site full of original content. We’re here for the long haul, but there is no denying this is a high risk industry.
One of the bigger risks with a campaign like this one is actually shipping the items people pledge for. Fulfillment and generally dealing with getting products to customers is not our skill set. In fact, none of us have ever done it. Because of this we researched other big successful crowd-funding campaigns and came up with some companies to partner with. Thanks to BackerKit and Amplifier you should get everything you pledge for, and get it fast.