New Matilda Tiwi Story Explodes On Facebook, Thanks To Your Support


Last week, intrepid New Matilda reporter Thom Mitchell revealed – courtesy of a Freedom of Information application – that the massive expansion of a sea port in a pristine waterway in the Top End without any government approval was the result of overworked government staff, and potentially ‘false and misleading’ information provided to investigators.

You can read one of those stories here.

When Thom broke the story, it was largely ignored by mainstream media, and save for the ABC is still being ignored. So we put a call out via website Pozible for help from our readers to fund advertising to push the story on social media.

The campaign far exceeded anything we expected.

We reached out fundraising goal of $5,000 within 12 hours of launching the campaign, and in the end raised more than $6,000 on the Pozible site, and a further $2,500 directly through New Matilda’s website.

We officially started advertising the story on Facebook late last week, and that campaign ended earlier this morning.

So here’s the results.

After spending just over $3,300 AUD on Facebook advertising, the story managed to drop into the Facebook newsfeeds of 569,105 people. In addition to this, it received 4,404 shares from Facebook users, and drew almost 800 comments. In other words, it went viral.

As a comparison, New Matilda generally receives around 300 shares on a popular story, and our reach into newsfeeds rarely tops 100,000.

With the money left over, we’re now pursuing the story even harder. Thom is awaiting the results of several more Freedom of Information requests, he has a couple more ready to go, and New Matilda will also be seeking information from the Northern Territory government under FOI legislation about what it knew, and when.

We’ve got some fresh reporting on the story today, available here, based on a fresh pile of information released under a second FOI.

A very big thanks to the New Matilda readers who so generously contributed to this campaign… and watch this space. There’s more stories to come on the Tiwis, we promise.

More broadly, if you want to help support the investigative journalism of New Matilda, you can do so by subscribing here, or donating here.

Every cent is precious to us, and courtesy of New Matilda’s famed ‘sniff of an oily rag’ journalism, from January 1 to August 31 this year, 76 per cent of the funds you gave was spent directly on the wages of our three full-time staff, and payments to some of our contributors (quite a few contribute for no fee). And for the record, in addition to contributors who are paid accepting very modest rates, our editor Chris Graham, contributing editor Wendy Bacon, and pro bono lawyer Geoff Holland don’t draw any wage whatsoever.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.