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Crowdfunding: How One Startup News Platform is Supporting its Output

Byline is an independent news platform that describes itself as ‘for the people by the people’. We spoke to journalist and director, Peter Jukes.

Peter Jukes is perhaps best known for his podcast on the Daniel Morgan murder case, the most investigated murder in British history, which has had some 2.5 million downloads to date. Jukes is also a pioneer of crowd-funding to finance his writing and journalism. So when he was approached – alongside renowned journalist and former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans and former Economist editor Bill Emmott – to get involved with innovative news platform Byline, it was to assist them to finance the site through the same fundraising route.

Jukes’ crowdfunding days started with the first fund raised to support his live Twitter feed from all 130 days of the phone hacking trial. Since then he has used crowdfunding for a number of journalism and writing projects.

Now Peter is part of the new management team at Byline alongside co-director Stephen Colegrave. Its principle is to fund journalism through hundreds of supporters rather than just one proprietor, more the norm in the UK news publishing industry.

Jukes explains, “The key for us is to get these stories written and out there. We provide a direct connection between readers and writers; there is no advertising, no corporate agenda and no control from a sole proprietor or investor. 

“If a journalist has a project they want to write about, they can find support to nurture it from beginning to end or they can be funded for a regular column. It is public service and citizen journalism at its very best.”

With these principles at its heart it is not difficult to see why Byline wanted to become part of IMPRESS. Peter Jukes says, “The key for us was the protection that the IMPRESS arbitration scheme could give us. It takes a lot of anxiety and unfairness out of the existing system.”

With a busy line-up for its events programme, a Byline Investigations team just launched and a plan for a journalist festival next year, Byline is growing with crowdfunding at its heart.