February 9, 2017
Turns out all work and no play….
Firstly dear readers, an apology.
New Matilda should have returned to its normal publishing schedule a few weeks back. Instead, I took a bit of an ‘extended break’. Which is code for ‘I had a complete meltdown’, and took my bat and ball and went surfing (and before anyone emails me… yes, mixed metaphor… no, obviously, I didn’t take a bat and ball into the surf with me).
By way of evidence, here's a photo of me doing my thing... I'm the guy on the left, with the invisible board and the rollerblades.
For the past month, I’ve been hiding from the world on the South Coast of NSW. Long story short, I got back from a reader-funded trip to Palestine in late December, got sick with some sort of ridiculous medieval demon horse virus (my diagnosis, but not unreasonable in the circumstances), and then collapsed in an enormous heap.
And here’s me thinking ‘burn out’ was something I used to do as a teenager, just before having my license suspended.
Looking back, it’s not all that surprising. 2016 was an enormously challenging year for New Matilda.
On the upside, it was ‘court free’, our first since I took over in 2014. Obviously, some people did try to sue us – that goes without saying – but no-one successfully managed to drag us into an actual courtroom. I consider this to be a major victory for both free speech, and our bottom line, which improved considerably in the absence of enormous legal bills.
However, as most readers would know, in order to pay the bills I relocated to Brisbane to take on a ‘brief’ contract with the wonderful folk at the National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS). This turned into a ‘less than brief’ contract… another long story short, I’m now a Queenslander, and can confirm that it is actually beautiful one day, perfect the next, provided you pretend Pauline Hanson comes from somewhere else.
Two full-time jobs all seemed quite sustainable last year. Turns out that with the benefit of hindsight, it’s completely insane. There’s lot of things I like doing seven days a week, but there’s only some things I should be doing seven days a week, work not being one of them.
And so, in 2017, we’re finally getting serious. Next month, New Matilda is launching a major push to try and secure 10,000 paid subscriptions.
That will buy an awful lot of very good journalism. It will hire a small team of investigative reporters, properly pay a slightly larger stable of stunning part-time writers, and secure the future of a news site that has refused to roll over and die for almost 13 years.
In other words, we’ve decided to make 2017 New Matilda’s breakthrough year. And the timing couldn’t be better.
Trust in media is at an all-time low. Unsurprisingly, that appears to have coincided with trust in political institutions also being at an all-time low. Which is obviously an understatement. There is virtually no trust in Australian political and media institutions these days… and don’t get me started on non-Australian media and political institutions (in pure journalistic terms, Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving… shame about what he’s going to do to the world along the way). To bastardise a phrase from our fearless leader Malcolm Trumble, there’s never been a better time to be a trusted news source. We just need to find a way to be a financially sustainable one. Work in progress, but watch this space.
In the interim, if you want to get in early and subscribe, you can do so here. And if you want to support a whole other New Matilda-related venture, visit The Sparkke Change Beverage Company here… our partners in disruptive crime (and brewers of exceptionally tasty beers, wines, ciders and lemonades) are going from strength to strength. They’ve even made our special ‘CU Next Tuesday Trump’ Pilsner available to more than just New Matilda readers. The Donald may be hard to swallow, but I guarantee you the beer in his ‘honour’ is not.
Cheers, Chris Graham
PS. The promo below Fiona's latest glorious cartoon (for The Stable On Hubert) is for a pretty excellent new business opening in Brisbane on Saturday arvo. It's an initiative of a generous New Matilda subscriber. I'll be MC-ing, and NM will be hosting other events there throughout the year. All are welcome, so please consider supporting a business that supports us.
At Large Media Pty Ltd
PO Box 426, CAMPERDOWN NSW 1450
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