I’ve come to the sad decision that I can no longer continue running New Matilda.
As the sole owner of the business that publishes the site, as well as its editor, I really feel the weight of this decision. I realise it probably means the end of NM.
Late last year I decided it was time to hand the site on to the next generation of editors and since January I haven’t been taking a regular wage. Instead, I’ve been investing the income from our paid subscribers into our younger staff, with the hope that this would give NM its best chance of survival into the future.
However, recently key staff have been poached by outlets that are able to pay much more than we are. That’s put NM in a position that it can’t recover from. It’s time for me to move on to a more stable job. I can’t afford another year.
I love New Matilda and the community of readers and subscribers who make it possible. Gideon Haigh once described the site as “an experiment in how cheaply a news outlet can run”, and I think he summed up its spirit perfectly.
In the face of a declining industry and with the help of hundreds of ordinary funders, we’ve made that experiment work, and published some ground-breaking journalism along the way.
It’s been an amazing ride, and for the past four years I’ve scrimped and saved to keep NM online because I’m a sucker for independent media — the way that it pushes the boundaries of acceptable debate, publishes stories no one else will touch, and takes a punt on new writers when the majors won’t. Now more than ever, that feels so important.
In the past four years our readership has doubled and our subscriber base is the strongest it’s ever been. New Matilda is certainly not a failed venture. If anything, it’s a victim of its own success. We’re a small operation that can’t afford to compete with our larger competitors for staff and writers. A high churn rate is a fact of life for small publishers — but as the media environment changes, hanging on to good people is getting harder than ever.
I'd like to thank our paid subscribers for their generosity and faith in our work — from our very first crowdfunding efforts in 2010 until now. We will be in direct contact with you over the next week with more information, and hope to offer you as many perks as we can, as well as all the details you need to wrap up your monthly subscriptions.
I also need to acknowledge the efforts of hundreds of people who have given their labour for free, including many of our writers, our contributing editor Wendy Bacon, economics writer Ian McAuley and regular cartoonist Lindsay Foyle. Without them NM would not have lasted as long as it has.
If anyone has a serious business proposal for taking over the site I’m open to receiving them for this week only at marniATnewmatilda.com. Only those with a commitment to keeping NM’s archive of content online for the foreseeable future will be considered.
If no one comes forward in that short period of time, we will continue publishing through the federal budget next week. After that the site will be archived. It will be Ben Eltham’s last trip to Canberra for NM, so make sure you stick around.
This August would have been NM’s 10th birthday. It’s sad we won’t make it, but there is so much to celebrate in the nearly 10 years worth of independent journalism that we’ve had. I hope you’ll join me in doing that. So here’s to you: our contributors, financial supporters and readers, who have made this independent media outlet possible, against all the odds.
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