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COMMENTARY
indie journalists
Bartender Cheyenne points to a NonDoc.com sticker affixed to a fridge door at The Mule in Oklahoma City. (William W. Savage III)

At various stages in NonDoc’s online life, we’ve created a couple of different crowdfunding mechanisms.

The first was called Pay What You Want (PWYW). This was a means by which readers could contribute to our site through PayPal. Those contributions would help supplement our revenue. In turn, we could use those funds for general business operations like subscriptions for specialized software, paying wages to full-time staff and compensating freelance contributors.

The second (and current) vehicle we created was the Writers’ Fund. This mechanism collected funds in the same way as PWYW, but we decided to sequester readers’ contributions solely for the purpose of paying freelancers. Wages and other operational costs would be covered by ad revenue and capital reserves.

Now, we are transitioning the Writer’s Fund from a solely freelance-focused collection to a general site support.

Bright spots in tough times

In terms of site traffic, NonDoc has been killing it in 2017. The first three months of this year represent some of our best months ever since launching in September 2015.

At the same time, we’ve struggled to increase ad revenue in line with growing readership. A combination of staff deficiencies and market-based competition have hindered our ability to expand our client base. As a result, we set an operational forecast that included two revenue-based deadlines: March 1 and May 1. We met the first goal, but with only a few weeks left until the second, things aren’t looking too good.

So, without a significant increase in either ad clients, crowdsourcing support or other capital infusion, we will lack the funds to cover our monthly costs moving ahead.

That’s why we feel compelled to tap into that Writers’ Fund piggy bank and broaden our description of the support it provides. We want to give ourselves every opportunity to exhaust all our options before throwing in the towel. It only seems fair that, as a news site that values transparency, we alert our readers to this stark reality and subsequent tweak in our crowdfunding model.

Calling all freelancers!

Despite the fact that we intend to absorb more of the Writers’ Fund proceeds into our general operations, we still have the need for and ability to pay for freelance reporting.

At the industry-standard rate of 10 cents per word, 500 well-reported parts of speech will grant the author $50; likewise, $100 for 1,000 words. We’re open to any and all ideas, and we work with freelancers to direct the angles and congeal the story.

Send your story pitches to editorial@nondoc.com.

Consider sustaining NonDoc a little longer

Like a key pressed on a piano, the sound lasts longer when the note is held down. Pressing the key and then stepping down on the sustain pedal will make the sound last even longer.
While we’ve been able to come through loud and clear (despite personnel changes and harsh market realities) up until this point, NonDoc’s voice currently teeters on the brink of silence. If you wish to keep hearing us in the local conversation and beyond, please take the following action:

  1. Visit our Writers’ Fund page.
  2. Decide on a dollar amount you’re comfortable with making as either a monthly, recurring contribution or a one-time contribution.
  3. Click the appropriate yellow icon to complete the transaction through PayPal (no PayPal account required; simply use a credit card).

We will continue to make our noise as usual during these trying times, but we could sure use some feet on the pedals to help make our ruckus linger for the long haul.

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Josh McBee earned a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. He has reported and edited for newspapers and other media in Oklahoma, Colorado and California.