In 2013, the Wisconsin Council for Children and Families published a study showing that Greater Madison Area reflects the most dramatic racial disparities in the country. Although minorities in Dane County make up approximately 15% of the total population, they account for nearly 50% of the prison population and only 1% of the region’s media producers and personalities. At a time when Wisconsin’s politics and communities are coming under increasing national scrutiny, we must work together to reverse these troubling trends and make sure that communities of color are well-represented and well-informed.
That is why we founded Madison365, a non-profit, online, independent, free-access multimedia news outlet serving communities of color in Madison, Wisconsin.
People want to talk, and people want to act. At the moment there is no forum for all communities of color to join with the majority community in productive, respectful dialog. No media outlets are able or willing to pursue the issues deeply. Very few local journalists come from communities of color.
Madison’s communities of color want and deserve a well-rounded media outlet of their own. In addition to applying our excellent brand of journalism to the difficult issues, we will cover sports, entertainment and lifestyle topics from the perspective of the community.
Madison365 will be the community’s media outlet. It will be funded and guided by members of the community -- people like you -- with additional funding from sponsors, grants and earned revenue.
Community reporting and community solutions also require engaged community support. Like any major media outlet, we need to hire contributing writers, editors, and graphic designers. We need to pay for web hosting and bandwidth to make sure our message can be heard across the country. We launched this site with the help of generous volunteers and interest with sponsors and community partners is growing. But we need to prove that we have the infrastructure to thrive. And that's where we need your help.
So far, we are all volunteers. Our publisher, associate publisher, editor, graphic designer, event planner, development director, and writers are all working for free - and funding the project ourselves. To make this sustainable, we need paid staff, and we need to pay our writers. We need to develop professional journalists and video producers. We need to invest in the community.
The $10,000 from this initial campaign will get us started, but reaching our goal will also attract more investment from corporate sponsors and foundations. The business community it watching, and they're interested -- but they haven't invested yet. Even a $10 or $25 pledge is a vote of confidence that will help us secure long-term funding for the future.
Please pledge now, and then tell your friends. This is a community project in every sense, so please reach out to your community to help ensure that all voices are heard!
Risks and challenges
The most significant obstacles are related -- funding and staffing. Real journalism costs real money, and to do what we really aspire to do, we will need a stable of excellent stringers, freelancers and staff reporters, in addition to business managers and fundraising people. To really succeed, we will have to offer up-to-the-minute, breaking news coverage in addition to in-depth news stories and features. We will also need enough funding to produce audio and video content. Attention spans are short and expectations for quick success are always high, so one of the biggest challenges will be funding in the third, fourth and fifth years. We plan to develop relationships with other nonprofit media outlets and learn from their experience. Additionally, we are confident that our powerhouse board of directors will keep us in touch with dedicated funders throughout the community.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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