Do you remember the Valdecañas reservoir, in Cáceres, practically empty after Iberdrola decided to turbine water to produce energy? Or that video that showed how the extreme right roamed unchecked inside an Army barracks? Do you remember in which medium you first read daily information about climate change, about climate crisis? Or what newspaper spoke on its front page of the court of Ibex35 businessmen of the future Felipe VI when the usual thing was to refer to the prince with the name of "The Prepared"? These are examples of news and coverage advanced by La Marea which were later echoed by the major media.
When there was still no talk of rationalizing working time in politics, we analyzed in La Marea the productivist logics that lead us to live without air, in precarious conditions, without care, without looking at ourselves and ourselves. The Spain emptied (of water), this summer's dossier on the drought, or the previous year's on air conditioning –Being able to live without air (conditioning)– are other examples of that journalism calmed by where we work, always with a gender and class perspective. Or the special on the extreme right, back in 2016, when the entire political arc said that "Spain was different", that the Trumps, the Le Pens, and the Farages would not arrive here...
We have talked about how science is done in this country, about class privileges, about the commodification of education and health, about what happens before and after a femicide, what preventive measures were taken or not, and what subsequent measures were taken. adopted so that it would not be repeated...
We have been to Lesbos and to the destruction of Lesbos. We were in the shame camp, in Arguineguín (Canary Islands). We have been to Iraq. We have been in New York, in Detroit, looking at other worlds while the world counted ballots. We have narrated the war in Ukraine from those other prisms. We have been, also for months, in a block in Seville, telling how people lived locked up in a third without an elevator when nobody knew what confinement was.
It is likely that you also remember mythical covers of our paper magazine: Florentino Pérez (El Puto Amo), Felipe González (El achiever), José María Aznar (and the uncomplexed ones) or Juan Carlos I (leads the landing of commission agents in the Persian Gulf).
In December we will be ten years old and we want to continue serving more. That is to say, we want to continue putting the focus where it is not usually put, we want to continue doing that journalism for which one day we decided to become journalists. Ours, how could we say it, is true. But it is also truly ours, what we have with you. You have known us for a long time and you are still there, supporting us and helping us to create a medium that is ours, and not that of great economic powers; La Marea belongs to its workers, and to the readers who regularly follow us.
Main features and goals of the crowdfunding campaign
Another crowdfunding? Maybe you ask yourself that question. In the writing of La Marea we have also done it. And we admit that we hesitated a lot before launching it. But we have been clear about something since we were born in 2012, and that is that to finance our medium we could have resorted to:
- The support of the Ibex35, a tycoon or some political party.
- Create a community of thousands of people with a critical spirit like you.
We were born as a result of crowdfunding and, ten years later, we propose a new challenge: the largest media micro-financing campaign in these parts. We want to consolidate La Marea and go one step further. What seemed like a journalistic utopia some time ago is a medium that bets on journalism really. **Our medium was created by a cooperative in the midst of a major economic crisis and now the indicators say that the fall and winter will be tough.
In addition, we face new difficulties. At the height of hate speech, when fascism has begun to rule in several European countries, it is more necessary than ever to overcome the tyranny of the algorithm that determines what news you will receive on your mobile every day. Many of them are crude manipulations, they are paid for by companies, they are irrelevant, hoaxes or pure clickbait. On the other hand, you find it hard to find the information that really interests you, the one that helps you form a critical opinion and have the ability to transform reality.
In the writing of La Marea we talk more and more often about the algorithm, about the extra effort we must make to spread our articles so that they reach people like you. And that happens when we have not yet managed to be sustainable.
The 250,000 euros that we have set as a minimum objective will allow us to end 2022 -a year in which subscriptions have dropped- in positive numbers and with enough liquidity to focus only on publishing good information and promoting new research. With this money, we will be able to give stability to the newsroom, increase the working hours of our colleagues with part-time contracts, make new hires and expand the number of collaborations.
The minimum objective will allow us to overcome a contradiction that weighs more and more on us. One of our great virtues has been bet everything on journalism. Above anything else, such as the dissemination of the work we do or even our working conditions. In the last magazine we recognize it: La Marea is not a 100% independent media for that last reason in particular. With the help of different specialists, we have drawn up a Decalogue on independent media.
Without a doubt, we fulfilled points 1 to 9. La Marea does not have shareholders or owners with interests in large business groups or political power, nor does the team of journalists who work in the magazine. This avoids self-censorship and, of course, the manipulation of information. Advertising has never exceeded 10% of our income, let alone sponsored content. Likewise, transparency is key and, for this reason, we publish our [accounts](https://www.lamarea.com/2022/09/12/las-cuentas-de-2021-crecimos-mas-que-nunca-pero -close-in-red-numbers/) and the origin of our expenses and income. Finally, public service is our main vocation.
However, meeting those nine conditions makes it extremely difficult to meet number 10 and, too often, payroll and collaboration payments are delayed. It is a set phrase, but yes, we also have to eat and pay bills… Live.
Dignity – “decent working conditions” – is a complex concept. Some of us who work in this medium have done it before, with good salaries, in large newsrooms in which, on occasion, a journalist withdrew his signature from an article because he did not recognize it after corrections by his boss. We also know of colleagues who have to write pieces at inhuman rates or suffer pressures of various kinds. I suppose that having experienced some of these situations explains that, “if they give me a choice”, as the song says, we prefer to improve La Marea. To achieve this, we must look in the mirror.
In doing so, the first conclusion we reach is that we are free, but our freedom is that of liberal democracies. In theory, we can talk about everything, report on everything; in practice we can do much less than we want and we find it more and more difficult to spread our work. Again, the lack of resources prevents us from having SEO specialists dedicated to positioning our pieces in search engines and getting more readings.
Deciding what we dedicate our forces to has undesired consequences for those of us who believe that journalism should monitor power, both economic and political. If we can only publish 20 articles a week, we try to make these as tidy as possible. That is to say, that they have their own approaches and cover aspects little treated in other media. Perhaps that is why we do not publish all the pieces that we should about the coalition government. There are many doing it, we could console ourselves. But that excuse does not satisfy us, rather it is frustrating.
You may think that setting a minimum goal of 250,000 euros is crazy... As we hinted at the beginning, we also think so in the newsroom. But at a time of tremendous disaffection and darkness on the horizon, we needed to do something that would excite us again. And we are already thinking about the optimal amount with which we can publish our magazine in audio format, produce podcasts, recover the good habit of holding face-to-face meetings to reflect with you on the topics that interest us...
Luckily, in the last two years our cooperative has managed to generate a small surplus that encourages us to start this campaign. Which tells us that you want us to move on. With you. Because ours is real.
Why this is important
Behind La Marea there are no great fortunes or groups that understand journalism as a business. In addition, we have always said it: in La Marea it is announced who can, not who wants to. We are a cooperative media outlet with insufficient financial resources, but does not allow sexist advertising for the IBEX or for those who profit from fossil fuels. Our workforce is very small, but we are very clear about our priorities, and among them is the defense of democratic values.
This crowdfunding campaign is aimed at you, who have been by our side for almost ten years, as a subscriber. Also to you, who have not yet taken the step of supporting the project, but who usually read us on a regular basis. Even you, who may not yet know us well enough but need a medium that speaks of your realities, without economic or political interests.
This crowdfunding is also aimed at you, who can allow you to contribute something more to Goteo. And you, who are going to make that effort to put your grain of sand. And also to you, who can spread this campaign on social networks or among your close circle. Our thanks, in all cases, will be infinite.
We believe in what is common, in what belongs to everyone. For this reason, our website lamarea.com does not have a paywall, because we believe that those who do not have resources also have the right to access quality journalism.
And this crowdfunding is, therefore, ours. And it's true.
After 10 years of experience, our work at lamarea.com and in the bimonthly magazine have been a sample of the issues that concern us, of our interest in having our own news agenda that focuses on the context, the analysis of the causes and the possible consequences of current news. Also, we have a special commitment to the coverage of social and cultural issues, in addition to an international approach that allows us to better understand what is happening in our country.
Previously, and thanks to Goteo, we have created projects such as PorTodas - a website specializing in what happens before and after a femicide-, YoIBEXtigo - which analyzes what is behind the most influential companies in the country- or La Uni en la Calle -a book that compiles 113 essays written by a total of 152 university professors-. And these are just a few examples.
Our team is small and, thanks to this crowdfunding, we will be able to expand it and ensure that the entire staff can be hired full-time. That is, without a doubt, one of the great short-term objectives: to achieve decent working conditions for all the people who make La Marea possible. You can see the current team here.