2014 was a big year for New Matilda. It changed ownership, changed direction a little (with a stronger focus on investigative reporting), and expanded its reach and story count.
And, of course, as most would know, we landed ourselves in the sort of legal trouble that only truly vigorous news reporting can manage.
Some of those challenges have followed us into 2015, and we’ll keep you posted as we work through them. They have, in no small way, made our operations more challenging, but rest assured New Matilda is determined to continue shining a light in places where some prefer darkness. Indeed, the more we get attacked, the more motivated we become.
You’ll notice some major changes in New Matilda in 2015 as well. Our story count continues to increase, and this week we’ve taken on another young reporter, Thom Mitchell. Thom scored a few victories in 2014 on the environmental front, among others, exposing a phantom environmentalist sitting on Whitehaven Coal’s community consultation panel.
Our major areas of focus for 2015 are politics, refugees, Aboriginal affairs, human rights, social welfare, industrial relations (workers’ rights), environment, climate change and science.
On the Aboriginal affairs front, we have a very exciting project scheduled for mid-year. We’ll bring you more details about it in the coming weeks and months.
One of our major goals for 2015 is to seriously revamp our website, with three new sections to be launched. We’ll unveil more details about those soon too, although in the meantime you can help us fund that goal by subscribing to New Matilda here.
Our other major goal is to practice even better quality journalism. There’s various theories about New Matilda, and they vary depending on who you talk to. Many regard us as a ‘left-wing website’. Others consider us a ‘radical left-wing website’. And some people just think we’re leftie ratbags.
We’re actually not all that interested in defining our political leanings – we’re simply interested in practicing strong, advocacy journalism. In our minds, the political stripes of our targets are irrelevant – we’re simply focused on holding power to account, wherever it resides. Expect quite a bit more of that this year.
As to the machinations, New Matilda will continue to publish our popular digest every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, but our publishing time has been pushed back to 3pm. With our increased staffing numbers, we want to ensure that the news and analysis we get you is more timely, so a few hours extra on deadline will make all the difference for our reporting team.
You’ll also see an expansion of our growing contributor base (New Matilda has been swamped with submissions over the Christmas break, and we’re getting through them all, albeit slowly), plus a few additional regular weekly columns.
Two final things: a heartfelt thanks, as always, to the ongoing support we receive from a growing number of readers. But in particular, we’d like to send out a special thanks to the long-time loyal supporters of this site. New Matilda doesn’t exist without you, and helping to fund New Matilda helps us keep some of the bastards more honest, some of the time.
Finally, we end our first editorial of 2015 on a sad note. Brian Johnstone, one of the nation’s most revered Indigenous affairs reporters and an occasional contributor to New Matilda, passed away over the weekend, after a long battle with cancer.
‘BJ’ was a Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist, and was widely known as one of the country’s most tenacious reporters.
BJ was very much a behind-the-scenes kinda guy – his greatest aversion was to becoming part of a news story. But slaving away in the background made BJ a remarkably effective advocate, and he profoundly improved the lives of many, Aboriginal people in particular, in ways they wouldn’t even be aware of.
BJ will be laid to rest in Adelaide next week. We’ll bring you a tribute to ‘one of the greats’ then.
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