Hooray! 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 makes would make that costly, in that we’d have to have me do that rather than generate content. Even though we run the risk of offending some, providing coverage is a higher priority. So we appreciate your forbearance and apologize that we aren’t clever enough to find a way to auto-generate missives.
Our seventh goal is funding for more original reporting. It may sound peculiar to request it at juncture. Shouldn’t we have asked for that sooner?
The reality is that all the the previous goals 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. In the Trump era of news stories where the volume is often up to 11, finding the signal in the noise has become more daunting than ever.
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.
I’m a Canadian expat living in Costa Rica (I’ve lived in six different countries and traveled to more than 30), and I do not agree with many of the views espoused on your site (myself being more a small government, libertarian type of person).
However, I find the quality of your site to be extremely high, your integrity exceptional, and the efforts made by you and your team to be fantastic.
Your site is the only site on the internet where I will think of reading the comments, and the comments in many cases will add valuable information to the articles.
Your site is a wonderful resource in today’s times, and I read it every day to challenge my own beliefs and to get a different perspective than my own.
Please keep up the good work, and my thanks to you and your staff for what you do.
And Mary H:
And Christine K:
Thank you for all that you do. I am just appalled by the injustices we see all around us and the continuing decline of the U.S. I feel helpless. It’s a sad day when grandparents feel like the best future for their grandchildren lies in a country outside the U.S. Yet that is how I feel.
Still, I’m still not ready to stop fighting and so I do my tiny part by sending you this check.
It gratifies me to know there are people like you and your team who care as much as I do and are willing to commit so much of your time and considerable intellectual gifts towards making changes for the better.
I am in awe by what you and your tiny staff manage to do every single day on your web site. I learn so much from your own writings as well as those of the commentariat. Thank you many times over.
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 $6,350 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 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.
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