Journalism movies: 61 must-see movies for journalists (and 4 series)

I love journalism movies. I recently watched State of Play, a movie about a grumpy old reporter who investigates a billion dollar scandal. He gets some help from a newspaper blogger. The funny situations – ‘I don’t have an opinion, maybe I should read some blogs’ – and the ‘damn fine reporting’ inspired me. They made me realize why I’ve chosen to become a journalist and gave me more energy.

That’s why I asked on Twitter which journalism movies my Twitter contacts liked. They came up with a great list, which I happily share here.In random order, descriptions by IMDB & trailers from YouTube. So next time you’re wondering which movie to see, get inspired by these great journalism movies.

I last updated this post on January 15, 2018. Do you miss a movie? Let me know through email (ernst-jan@pfauth.com) or Twitter (I’m @ejpfauth). Here they are, in random order!

The best journalism movies

1. Absence of Malice (1981)

In America can a man be guilty until proven innocent?

When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of an union head, the man’s life begins to unravel. (6.9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

2. True Crime (1999)

A nail-biting thriller

Can an over-the-hill journalist uncover the evidence that can prove a death row inmate’s innocence just hours before his execution? (6,6 on imdb) – watch the trailer

3. All The President’s Men (1976)

At times it looked like it might cost them their jobs, their reputations, and maybe even their lives.

Reporters Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon’s resignation (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
I started the discussion with this movie. 

4. Parallax View (1974)

There is no conspiracy. Just twelve people dead.

An ambitious reporter gets in way-over-his-head trouble while investigating a senator’s assassination which leads to a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the worlds headlines (7.4 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

5. Foreign Correspondent (1940)

MYSTERY IN WHISPERS that cracks like THUNDER!

On the eve of WW2, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London (7.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

6. Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

A Love Caught In The Fire Of Revolution

A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

7. Killing Fields (1984)

He was a reporter for the New York Times whose coverage of the Cambodian War would win him a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. But the friend who made it possible was half the world away with his life in great danger… This is the story of war and friendship, the anguish of a country and of one man’s will to live.

A photographer is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot’s bloody “Year Zero” cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million “undesirable” civilians (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

8. Professione: reporter (1975)

I used to be somebody else…but I traded myself in.

A frustrated war correspondent, unable to find the war he’s been asked to cover, takes the risky path of co-opting the I.D. of a dead arms dealer acquaintance (7.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

9. Citizen Kane (1941)

365 days in the making – and every minute of it an exciting NEW thrill for you !

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance (8.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer & Jan-Albert Hootsen

10. The Insider (1999)

Warning: Exposing the Truth May Be Hazardous

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a “60 Minutes” expose on Big Tobacco (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Jan-Albert Hootsen

11. Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

We will not walk in fear of one another.

Broadcast journalist ‘Edward R. Murrow (I)’ looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy (7.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Arjo

12. Shattered Glass (2003)

Read between the lies.

The true story of a young journalist who fell from grace when it was found he had fabricated over half of his articles (7.5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Arjo & Jan-Albert Hootsen

13. Infamous (2006)

There’s more to the story than you know

While researching his book In Cold Blood, writer Truman Capote develops a close relationship with convicted murderers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith (7.2 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Arjo

14. Control Room (2004)

Different channels. Different truths.

A documentary on perception of the United States’s war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera’s coverage (7.8 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Arjo

15. Runaway Jury (2003)

Trials are too important to be decided by juries.

A juror on the inside and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer (7.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Steven van Vessum

16. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

Based on a true story. You think we could make all this up?

A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects (7.4 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Steven van Vessum

17. Final Edition (2007)

After 149 years and 311 days, the Rocky Mountain News published its final edition on February 27, 2009.

Read the story on the website of The Rocky Mountain News. Below is the whole (!) movie.
Suggestion by Joris van Meel

18. Wag the Dog (1997)

A Hollywood producer. A Washington spin-doctor. When they get together, they can make you believe anything.

Before elections, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to “fabricate” a war in order to cover-up a presidential sex scandal (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by @jack_nl

19. Frost/ Nixon (2008)

400 million people were waiting for the truth.

A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by: Jelte Nieuwenhuis & David Noël

20. A Mighty Heart (2007)

It was an event that shocked the world. This is the story you haven’t heard.

Mariane Pearl embarks on a frantic search to locate her journalist husband, Daniel, when he goes missing in Pakistan (6.8 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Jan-Albert Hootsen

21. État de Siège (1972)

A film about a journalist’s inquiry into the Uruguayan junta

In Uruguay in the early 1970s, an official of the US Agency for International Development (a group used as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods) is kidnapped by a group of urban guerillas (7.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Jan-Albert Hootsen

22. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Give us your brain for two hours and you will never be the same again…..(Icelandic)

An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychadelic escapades (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Henriëtte Klijnstra & Arjo

23. Syriana (2005)

Everything is connected

A politically-charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it (7.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by David Veneman

24. Capote (2005)

Truman Capote (Hoffman), during his research for his book In Cold Blood, an account of the murder of a Kansas family, the writer develops a close relationship with Perry Smith, one of the killers (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Jan-Albert Hootsen & Arjo

25. State of Play (2009)

Find The Truth

A team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman’s mistress (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
This movie gave me the idea of making this list

26. Almost famous (2000)

Experience it. Enjoy it. Just don’t fall for it.

A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies it on their concert tour (8.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Albert Nijmeijer

27. Live from Baghdad (2002)

The Gulf War, 1991. No story is worth dying for – but this was the story of a lifetime

A group of CNN reporters wrestle with journalistic ethics and the life-and-death perils of reporting during the Gulf War (7.3 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Jan-Albert Hootsen

28. The Hunting Party (2007)

How can they find the world’s most wanted war criminal when the C.I.A. can’t? [by actually looking]

A young journalist, a seasoned cameraman and a discredited war correspondent embark on an unauthorized mission to find the no. 1 war criminal in Bosnia; they find themselves in serious jeopardy when they are mistaken as a CIA hit squad and their target decides to come after them. (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Antonie

29. Harrison’s Flowers (2000)

Sometimes love is the only proof you need.

When a Newsweek photojournalist disappears in war-torn Yugoslavia, his wife travels to Europe to find him. (7.2 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Alec

30. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Meet New James Bond

James Bond heads to stop a media mogul’s plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage. (6.4 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Lorenz

31. Nothing But the Truth (2008)

Don’t Reveal the Source

In Washington, D.C., a female reporter faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source. (7.5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Claire

32. His Girl Friday (1940)

She learned about men from him!

A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying. (8.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Boy van Dijk

33. Brüno (2009)

Borat was so 2006

Flamboyant Austrian fashionista Brüno takes his show to America. (6.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Thomas

34. The Constant Gardener (2005)

Love. At any cost.

A widower is determined to get to the bottom of a potentially explosive secret involving his wife’s murder, big business, and corporate corruption. (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by eyewhypee

35. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

His news is bigger than your news

Ron Burgundy is San Diego’s top rated newsman in the male dominated broadcasting of the 1970’s, but that’s all about to change when a new female employee with ambition to burn arrives in his office. (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Zoe

36. Salvador (1986)

Based on a true story

A journalist, down on his luck in the US, drives to El Salvador to chronicle the events of the 1980 military dictatorship, including the assasination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. (7.5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Peter

37. Zodiac (2007)

There’s more than one way to lose your life to a killer

A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer. (7.9 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by joscha & kamisir

38. La Dolce Vita (1960)

The Sweet Life

Journalist and man-about-town Marcello struggles to find his place in the world, torn between the allure of Rome’s elite social scene and the stifling domesticity offered by his girlfriend, all the while searching for a way to become a serious writer. (8.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by joscha

39. Under Fire (1983)

This wasn’t their war but it was their story…and they wouldn’t let it go!

Three journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979. (7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Michiel Frackers

40. The Pelican Brief (1993)

Two Supreme Court Justices have been assassinated. One lone law student has stumbled upon the truth. An investigative journalist wants her story. Everybody else wants her dead. Two Supreme Court Justices have been assassinated. One lone law student has stumbled upon the truth.

An investigative journalist wants her story. Everybody else wants her dead. (6.3 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Renato Valdés Olmos

41. Män som hatar kvinnor (2009)

Swedish thriller based on Stieg Larsson’s novel about a journalist and a young female hacker. (7.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Pawelotti

42. Network (1976)

Not since the dawn of time has America experienced a man like Howard Beale!

A TV network cynically exploits a deranged ex-TV anchor’s ravings and revelations about the media for their own profit (8.1 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by davidus

43. Lions for Lambs (2007)

If you don’t STAND for something, you might FALL for anything

Injuries sustained by two Army ranger behind enemy lines in Afghanistan set off a sequence of events involving a congressman, a journalist and a professor (6.2 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Peter Engel

44. Page One (2011)

Inside the New York Times

Unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom yields a complex view of the transformation of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity (6.9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

45. Call Northside 77 (1948)

Chicago reporter P.J. McNeal re-opens a ten year old murder case.

(7,4 on imdb) – watch the trailer

46. Ace in the Hole (1951)

Treasure seeker trapped in burial vault

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus. (8,2 on imdb) – watch the trailer

47. The Front Page (1974)

A Billy Wilder Film

As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence. (7,3 on imdb) – watch the trailer

48. Deadline USA (1952)

A tough newspaperman who fights organized crime

With his newspaper about to be sold, crusading editor Ed Hutcheson tries to complete an exposé on gangster Rienzi. (7,2 on imdb) – watch the trailer

49. Broadcast News (1987)

It’s the story of their lives

Take two rival TV reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one producer, female. Mix well and watch the sparks fly. (7,2 on imdb) – watch the trailer

50. Newsies (1992)

They found the courage to challenge the powerful!

A musical based on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. When young newspaper sellers are exploited beyond reason by their bosses they set out to enact change and are met by the ruthlessness of big business. (6,9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

51. The Paper (1994)

A behind-the-lines look at work, marriage and other forms of combat.

Henry Hackett is the editor of a New York City tabloid. He is a workaholic who loves his job, but the long hours and low pay are leading to discontent. Also, publisher Bernie White faces financial straits, and has hatchetman Alicia Clark, Henry’s nemesis, impose unpopular cutbacks. Henry’s wife Martha, a hugely pregnant former reporter of his, is fed up because he has so little time for his family. He is therefore considering an offer from Paul Bladden to edit a paper like the New York Times, which would mean more money, shorter hours, more respectability…but might also be a bit boring for his tastes. But a hot story soon confronts Henry with tough decisions. (6,5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by downtownjoe in the comments.
And Maurits Martijn emailed me this essay about The Paper: ‘The Paper’ is the Most Essential and Overlooked Film About Journalism

52. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

The motion picture that will never be forgiven – or forgotten!

Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister’s romance with a jazz musician. (8,2 on imdb) – watch the trailer

53. How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)

The most hilarious comedy of the year

A British writer struggles to fit in at a high-profile magazine in New York City. (6,5 on imdb) – watch the trailer

54. Welcome to Sarajevo (1997)

To get the story, they’ll risk everything!

Journalist Floyd from US, Michael Henderson from UK and their teams meet the beginning of Bosnian war in Sarajevo. During their reports they find an orphanage run by devoted Mrs. Savic near the front line. Henderson gets so involved in kids’ problems that he decides to take on the children, Emira, illegally back to England. He is assisted by American aid worker Nina. (6,9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

55. Spotlight (2015)

Break the story. Break the silence

Journalism movies: Spotlight
The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core. (8,1 on imdb) – watch the trailer

56. Nightcrawler (2014)

When Louis Bloom, a con man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.

(7,9 on imdb) – watch the trailer

57. Citizenfour (2014)

A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden.

(8,1 on imdb) – watch the trailer

58. The Bang Bang Club (2010)

A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.

(7,0 on imdb) – watch the trailer

59. Reds (1981)

A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia, and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.

(7,5 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Léa Mallet-Jemming

60. Kill the Messenger (2014)

Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb, who uncovered a CIA drug scandal.

(7.0 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Norman Stockwell

 

Those were the journalism movies. Here are 4 series about journalism

1. The Wire, season 5 (2007)

Read between the lines

Baltimore drug scene, seen through the eyes of drug dealers, and law enforcement (9.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Alper Çuğun: ‘In season 5 the focus is on the inner workings and cutbacks at the Baltimore Sun.’ I’d like to add to that: you gotta love Gus!

Watch The Wire on Amazon
Editor Augustus ‘Gus’ Haynes in The Wire

2. State of Play (2003)

Sometimes you have to read between the lines

A thriller set in London, in which a politician’s life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage drug dealer is shot dead (8.7 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggested by Tijs Teulings

3. The Newsroom (2012)

Every story needs a final word

A newsroom undergoes some changes in its workings and morals as a new team is brought in, bringing unexpected results for its existing news anchor. (8.6 on imdb) – watch the trailer

4. Good Girls Revolt (2015)

Journalism movies and series: Good Girls Revolt

A look at the personal and professional lives of employees at an American news magazine in the late 1960s.

(8,9 on imdb) – watch the trailer
Suggestion by Léa Mallet-Jemming: “Set in 1970, it is loosely based on the real story of Newsweek magazine and its female employees, who sued for sex discrimination (only allowing men to become reporters). Sadly the series was cancelled after just one season, despite a very positive reception. And ironically, the decision to cancel was made by a man who now faces allegations of sexual harassment. I am still boiling over.”

61. And one journalism movie to look forward to (now in cinemas):

The Post, by Steven Spielberg, with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

Are there any good journalism movies missing? Let me know through email (ernst-jan@pfauth.com) or Twitter (I’m @ejpfauth).

A short guide to crowdfunding journalism

In the spring of 2013, we raised 1.7M dollars with a crowdfunding campaign for our Dutch journalism platform De Correspondent. Two years later, we still receive invitations from conferences, students and journalists to talk about how we did it.

We feel flattered by these requests. Yet we’re way too busy with our current challenges to honor them all. Our goal of growing our member base to 50,000 requires all our attention.

But De Correspondent wouldn’t exist without our 18,933 crowdfunding backers. That’s why we wrote this guide to journalism crowdfunding. In the hope it might even inspire you to start your own campaign. Continue reading “A short guide to crowdfunding journalism”

Bringing journalists and technologists together on February 18th

On February 18th, my colleague Dimitri Tokmetzis and I will talk about how we try to encourage members of De Correspondent to share their knowledge.

We’re invited by Eva de Valk. She organizes Hacks/Hackers, a meet-up that should bring journalists and technologists together. I’m a big fan of this idea, since journalists alone can’t figure out the future of their profession. They’ll need the people who are actually building the new platforms for journalism.

Hacks/Hackers is part of an international organization with chapters worldwide.

Hope to meet you there! Practical info:

De Correspondent and reorganizing a journalistic platform – Hacks/Hackers – Amsterdam (Amsterdam) – Meetup.
Wed Feb 18, 6:00 PM. At the Silk offices, Spuistraat 239-3, Amsterdam

 

Finally watched ‘The Internet’s Own Boy’

Last night, I watched this documentary about Aaron Swartz (1986 – 2013). He was the co-founder of Reddit, RSS and the Stop Sopa campaign.  Impressed by how relentless this wunderkind lived. Basically he died because he wasn’t interested in the start-up money and fame, but pursued his ideals for a better world. Both a very tragic and inspiring documentary.

(Thanks to Tim and Erik for the HT)

Becoming the ultimate resource on a topic

“The biggest source of waste is everything the journalist has written before today”

Ezra Klein from Vox.com wants his journalists responsible for constantly updating pages that are the ultimate resource on a topic.

He told this The New York Times a couple of months ago (I found the remark while researching the much applauded CMS of Vox Media, called Chorus).

I think Klein is right.

1. We’re bombarded with new headlines and clickbait all day (here’s why). Thus understanding the world a little less with each update.

2. We have the means to go beyond the format of a classic news article, which has literally been around for ages. Our shared goal is to inform readers to the best of our ability.

So how we can we build a publication around this mission? How can we, for example, put every update on Syria’s war in its right context?

A few challenges:

  • Most journalists are addicted to the thrill of publishing a new story (I know I was). Updating a page is a lot less glamorous and is a big step away from a journalist’s default modus: filing new stuff.
  • Inventing the right platform for this kind of journalism will need enormous investments and commitment from an ideologically-motivated senior management. This strategy doesn’t turn a profit within a couple of years.
  • People will laugh at you. Exactly like they’re laughing at Klein’s efforts now. “I expected so much from Vox, but all they’ve launched are card stacks“. Almost everyone will fail to see what you’re trying to build in the long run.

At De Correspondent, we’ll start building dossiers in 2015. These pages will be more than just a collection of links. We’ll use these to introduce people to bigger themes. Baby steps, but after 18 months of building a basic publication, we’re ready to take on Kleins challenge.

While keep you updated at this blog, of course. You can follow the journey through RSS or Twitter.

Update (13:08): This post by Jay Rosen elaborates on Ezra Kleins mission.

How Subscription Models Lead to More Trustworthy Journalism

Ryan Holiday is a marketer.

Even his name sounds catchy.

Just like the title of his first book: Trust me I’m Lying. Confessions of a Media Manipulator (2012). Being a top marketer – Holiday served as Director of Marketing at American Apparel -, his book is also written in a catchy way – stuffed with punch lines.

That’s not by accident, a short read on Holiday’s blog teaches us. He links to a blog post where he explains how he ‘growth hacked’ his latest book:

“I designed this book to be viral. [..] I tried to keep my sentences short and make my revelations big and exciting. I wanted people to leave with important and actionable sound bites.”

It’s an interesting paradox, since Trust me I’m Lying forms a powerful argument against the clickbait-culture, while at the same time its author uses the exact techniques behind the very same culture to optimize his book. He shows the power in a meta way.

I gained a lot of insights from Holiday’s book. Specifically about how most of online journalism is broken.

The diagnoses goes as follows:

  • Most online media outlets make money by selling ads;
  • In general, the more traffic they have, the more ads they sell;
  • Thus the task of most online journalists is: generate traffic;(Gawker’s famous page views leaderboard in their newsroom comes to mind);
  • In their quest for traffic, journalists are desperately looking for juicy stories;
  • ‘Media manipulators’ like Ryan Holiday supply those journalists with what they need, meanwhile serving their own agendas.

On the opening pages of the book, Holiday explains how he does this:

  • He designs a controversial billboard for one of his clients and makes sure it gets a good spot in LA;
  • Holiday then gets himself a spray can and defaces his own billboard;
  • In act three, Holiday drives by in a car and snaps a photo of the demolished billboards;
  • He then sends it a blogger, who gladly posts it. Uproar follows. Box office soaring.

(Holiday urges media manipulators to ‘trade up the chain’. Send your news to a low-profile blogger with zero to none journalistic standards. He’ll probably post it. You now have a link to your fake controversy. Then it’s just a matter of waiting before a more well-known blogger picks it up).

The billboard example is quite innocent. But what happens when Politico starts following obscure presidential candidates just to get more traffic (and thus sales)? It changes the political arena.

Holiday also hints to a solution: subscription-based publications. Just like The New York Times once created an opportunity to steer away from the sensationalist-sells-good-on-the-streets pulp journalism by introducing subscriptions, web publishers can now escape the ad-drive race to the bottom.

subscriptions versus ads

That’s exactly what we did at our Dutch journalism platform De Correspondent. First we organized a crowdfunding campaign to get started without investor capital (and raised $1.7M), then – as soon as we launched – we introduced a membership. For 60 euros a year, you can access all our articles, podcasts and videos and can contribute to stories. We now have 28,000 subscribers.

I’m not saying we’re immune to media manipulators (they could still mingle in our comments section ), but as I read Trust Me I’m Lying, I took comfort in the fact that our journalists only have to serve one purpose: inform our readers in a thoughtful, trustworthy and careful way.

Ryan Holiday – Trust me I’m Lying. Confessions of a Media Manipulator (2012)

As a journalist, you can make a living from a thousand true fans — Ben Thompson is proof.

As a journalist, you can make a living from a thousand true fans. Ben Thompson is proof.

How encouraging is this: a journalist who succesfully launched a subscribtion model for just his own reporting. You can do this too!

Focus on the big stories, no-one will remember the small ones

Paul Lewis is The Guardian‘s Washington correspondent and got the advice from late Ben Bradlee (editor in chief of The Washington Post during the Watergate scandal) to ‘focus on the big stories. No-one will remember the small ones.’

Although it’s probably hard to recognize big stories from the very start, and small stories can grow out to become as big as Watergate,  I do think this is wise advice.

In these days of focusing on instant recognition (I often check how many tweets my last published story generated), it serves you and journalism better to unplug now and then and take the time to work on something bigger. Something that might not be retweeted at first, but will have a larger impact on the long run.

Sullivan has over 30.000 subscribers

We currently have 30,200 paying auto-renewing subscribers. Our monthly traffic is between 700,000 to a million uniques, our subscription renewal rate is 83 percent. We also have a pay-what-you want model above a certain baseline. The average subscription when we launched was $34; this year it went up to $39, but with fewer subscribers

Andrew Sullivans reader-funded publication is doing great.

American press about De Correspondent’s renewals

We’ve had some great international coverage about De Correspondent these last days, because enough members renewed their crowdfunding membership (over 11,000 of a group op 18,933 people signed up for another year – read the announcement on Medium):

  • Columbia Journalism Review about reader engagement;
  • GigaOM pointed out three things traditional media could learn from our site;
  • And Nieman Lab declared that ‘we’re still going strong’ in year two.