Stretch Goal: Help fund the hiring of two new North Korean defector writers!
Help us reach our stretch goal of $26,000 and we'll hire two brand new Ask a North Korean writers, using the extra Kickstarter funds to cover their weekly columns for an entire year!
"Ask a North Korean" is the section of NK News which allows readers to send in questions for our North Korean defector colleagues to respond to, in column format.
Currently, the articles are paywalled -- but we'd love to make them open access for all our readers. Prior to our paywall, the "Ask a North Korean" column was one of the most popular sections of the website, and we'd love to make it open-access again.
For every $1,000 we raise towards the stretch goal, we'll be able to fund five open-access columns. Help us increase the outreach of our North Korean defector colleagues by donating today!
Original goal: North Korea borderlands reporting project - $16,000
Working along the Chinese – North Korea border in 2013, I witnessed first hand how divergent the stories on the ground were from what I was seeing on the news at the time.
With my visit coming following reports of a border lockdown and some of the worst inter-Korean tensions in decades, the realities of what is actually an extremely porous border and life for thousands of ordinary North Koreans working in the area stood out. ￼
Standing on an abandoned bridge just feet from North Korean territory, I felt millions of miles from the increasingly sensationalized Google news feeds which provide the majority of what people think they know about North Korea today.
Although I was only there for a week, I realized that – like in other places where North Koreans can be found in significant numbers – there were hundreds of stories waiting to be uncovered. Stories that might influence the way we think about North Korea in more ways than meet the eye.
Today our specialist news site NK News tries to cover as much unique material as we can on North Korea every day, but working from resources generated through a modest subscription system, there are real limitations on the amount of on-the-ground reporting we’re able to do in places like the China – DPRK border area.
That’s why today we’re asking for your help. With $16,000 of extra resources this year we’ll send two journalists for extended periods to China.
And if we can raise more, we’ll send them to countries in Africa and the Middle East where we know we can find important stories involving North Korea. From finding out why North Koreans continue to leave the country, to revealing the deals Pyongyang’s diplomats are making overseas, your help will let us tell these stories in innovative ways and with intimate detail. Help give us the chance.
With leads in place for some groundbreaking stories, we’re almost there. And in return for your assistance, we've some great rewards to offer:
Pictures used in campaign all by Eric Lafforgue
Risks and challenges
The reporters we'll send to the China-DPRK border will be taking several precautions to ensure their safety while on assignment. However, due to the region being an especially sensitive area, it is impossible to guarantee the overall success of the project.
While a responsible approach to the assignment means situations like the 2009 imprisonment of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling in North Korea can hopefully be avoided, arbitrary detention on the Chinese side – most likely for short periods of time – cannot be discounted.
Nor can the potential expulsion of our journalists mid-assignment from PRC territory.
In the event our reporters are expelled early into the assignment and sufficient budget remains, we will reassign them to projects in the Middle East or Africa.
However, in the event an expulsion takes place mid-assignment, it is possible that only limited reporting outcomes will be assured from the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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