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The Discourse Report: December 10, 2020

Welcome to DiscRep, your guide to the public discourse. I’m Berny Belvedere, editor in chief of .


, the English-version site of the Dutch news giant , will be shut down at year’s end.

Of course it will. It was always going to crash and burn.

Not because is a bad media organization — on the contrary, almost everything I’ve read about them has seriously impressed me. But their English spin-off project was a disaster from the jump.

Their big fundraising pitch was predicated on opening a physical newsroom in the United States. But once they smashed their funding goal, they quickly pivoted to,

This was monstrous — a complete breach of trust.

They had raised $2.6 million from crowdfunding alone. And then they just abruptly announced they would be reporting on the U.S., , from the geographically nearby area known as <checks notes> The Old World. Whoops.

What I found most obnoxious were the trusted names they used to sell the site. They leveraged people like Jay Rosen, folks with significant pull as Journalism Knowers, to heavily promote them as the kind of publication that does things the right way. Countless Trusted Voices chimed in: “Journalism is broken. But these people will fix it!”

Scam city.

And Rosen and the others who assured us this was going to be revolutionary have yet to face a reckoning. Not even a little blowback. You hate to see it (but you’re probably not even a little bit surprised by seeing it).


Elie Honig

Lucy Caldwell

Drew Holden

Zoe Hyde


Thanks for reading,

Berny Belvedere

Editor in Chief,



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