The Post gets some big backing
An editor’s note from Abi and Jack
It’s rare that you get to email with not just good news — but indisputably GREAT news. Undiluted glad tidings! Media companies are often a flash in the pan, here today, bankrupt tomorrow, but it was crucial to us that The Post would not follow that model. We’d like to be around for a really long time: decades, not years. Centuries, if you’ll have us. New species will evolve, nations will rise and fall, and we’ll be here, merrily tapping away on our piece about the latest corruption scandal.
Today that daydream looks a lot more feasible. As many of you know, we’re part of a wider independent media company called Mill Media Co — as a team we publish The Post and our sister titles The Tribune in Sheffield and The Mill in Manchester, all of which were founded in the past few years. We lend each other writers, share editors, give each other ideas and pool money together to pay for lawyers. And together we have just received a massive boost — a “seed” funding round worth £350,000 from some of our long-time readers and supporters.
Amongst their ranks is Mark Thompson, the former director general of the BBC and chief executive of the New York Times, who just this afternoon was announced as the new CEO of CNN; Turi Munthe, the co-founder of the photo agency Demotix and a longtime paying member and supporter of ours; and Diane Coyle, a leading economist and professor of public policy at Cambridge, who has done some of the most important work on regional inequalities in this country.
The fundraising news has just been reported by The Guardian and Press Gazette, with Thompson saying he is investing in the company because of “the exceptional quality of its journalism and because it's such an interesting and encouraging initiative.” Professor Coyle is quoted saying: “High quality, deep local reporting is the bedrock of a democratic society, and an essential antidote to the maelstrom of misinformation online.” She goes on: “I've been a paying Mill member from very early on, and I'm excited by how it — and its sister publications in Sheffield and Liverpool — have grown since then. I hope the company can make a similar impact in other cities across the country."
It’s exciting to us that people who are so knowledgeable and interesting were so ready to support us and help us grow. We suppose it feels like a validation of all our hard work. But it’s also, frankly, even more exciting to have such a vast amount of media and business experience on board — to be able to call up someone who once ran the New York Times to ask how to proceed if we get really stuck on anything.
Our investors are going to advise us and help us, but it’s important to point out: they’re not going to tell us what to do: they will have no control over our editorial direction or what we publish on The Post. So don’t worry — we’ll still be as relentless in calling out bad behaviour as we’ve always been.
The investment will put us on a firmer financial footing and it will allow us to buttress our ranks a bit when it comes to things like marketing and commercial growth. In our recent surveys, many of you said that you think we should be doing more marketing, and this funding will allow the company as a whole to hire a marketing and revenue guru who can help us to get the word out more effectively. We also need a bit more editing support, because we’re currently very writer-heavy, so the company is hiring a senior editor.
Here in Liverpool, we’re going to hire another staff writer — we just put the job ad live today with an application deadline of Sunday September 24th. If you think you might know someone who would love this job, please share it with them so we have a great selection of candidates to choose from.
But what we certainly won’t do is move away from our most important principle — to run The Post sustainably and to cover our costs directly from our reader subscriptions. That’s the whole point of this venture — to prove that you can fund high quality local news via readers who really care about and value what you are publishing, rather than monetising stories by covering them in horrible ads. So we’re going to carry on growing The Post in exactly the same way here in Liverpool — adding new staff in line with our subscriber growth and working hard every day to persuade more and more of you to pay for our journalism.
The company is going to invest most of its new gold bullions in spreading what we’ve learned here in Liverpool (and in Manchester and Sheffield too) to new places around the UK that want this kind of journalism. We always get messages from old colleagues and Twitter acquaintances asking if we could hire them in Leeds or hire them in Newcastle, and with this money, we will finally be able to do that.
So expect some baby Posts to spring in over the coming year, and if you have contacts in those places, we might ask you for a bit of help too. It’s a good feeling to know that what we’ve been developing here is going to help drive a renaissance in quality local journalism in other parts of the land.
We would be remiss not to thank our paying subscribers for their support. None of these media and business experts would have so much as glanced our way if the model didn’t seem to work: if our readers didn’t sufficiently back what we were doing to pay for our service. None of this would have been possible without you. So really, truly: a huge thank you.
And if you’re not a member yet: jump on board right now! If nothing else, today’s news is confirmation that The Post is going places.
Abi and Jack
Click here to read our job ad for our new staff writer role, and please share it with friends.