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Congratulations! Met Our Sixth Goal, On to Our Seventh: More Original Reporting

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Via Naked Capitalism

If you don’t need to be persuaded to give but just haven’t gotten to it, please proceed go right to our fundraiser page to chip in!

Thanks to your generous and speedy responses, we’ve met our first six targets: support for critical IT infrastructure and improvements, bonuses to our loyal guest writers (who given their expertise and caliber of their work, deserve better than underwhelming standard writer pay levels), travel and site coverage expenses for meetups and conferences; funding to improve the comments section: resources so we can expand our reach, and providing the staffing to coverage without burning out of yours truly. Let me stress again: your donations have and continue to make all these critical items possible. And at 1407 donors, we are closing in on our new goal of 1600 contributors for this fundraiser.

I wanted to pause here and 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 some of you might be miffed, providing coverage is a higher priority. In the past, we had an intern (who we paid at well over living wage rates) to handle less than half the load, and she’d put in over 20 hours. So we appreciate your forbearance and apologize that we aren’t clever enough to master having PayPal auto-generate missives.

Our seventh goal is funding for more original reporting. It may sound peculiar to ask for that at this point in the fundraiser. Shouldn’t we have asked for that sooner?

The reality is that all the things we’ve asked for are essential to keep the site going as it is now and keeping it fresh in its current format. 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.

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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.

From CJ:

You’ve heard this over and over, but Naked Capitalism is my go-to website every morning. I especially appreciate the posts on MMT, which I have been happy to share with others so they can become similarly enlightened. And the comments section adds many interesting and informative perspectives from around the world. Thanks to all the team.

And Shirley:

Thank you for Naked Capitalism: without it – and the informed commentary its community provides, my knowledge of even those issues most important to me would be a confused mishmash of the ignorance promulgated by the MSM.

And Judy B:

Could get by without your work, but who wants to merely get by. Naked Capitalism is an enriching experience. Thanks for all you do and all the avenues you take me down.

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, 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.

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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 NC readers have an appetite for 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 $35,000. We are already $6,485 towards that goal.

Im addition to continuing with our financial services industry spadework, we would have Lambert dig even deeper into 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.

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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 PayPal. There you can use a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal account (the charge will be in the name of Aurora Advisors).

You can also send a check (or multiple post dated checks) in the name of Aurora Advisors Incorporated to

Aurora Advisors Incorporated
164 Peachtree Circle
Mountain Brook, AL 35213

Please also send an e-mail to yves@nakedcapitalism.com 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.”

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