De Correspondent now has 50,000 paying members

And here are our 3 biggest challenges for 2017

Ernst Pfauth
Jan 23, 2017 · 3 min read
Illustration: De Correspondent / Leon Postma

Hello, friends of the press! Here’s an update from Amsterdam about our member-funded interactive journalism endeavor De Correspondent. Our site has reached the milestone of 50,000 paying members, making it the largest subscription-based news site in the Netherlands.

In case you haven’t heard about us, here’s what we do:

  • We serve as an antidote to the daily news grind. Our 31 beat correspondents don’t chase the latest headlines; they cover the structural developments that shape our world.
  • We involve readers in our reporting and give members a voice on our platform. Journalists share their story ideas and setbacks, and readers respond with invaluable insights (based on professional, academic, or personal experience).
  • We’re completely ad-free (here’s why) and independent of corporate capital. We started with a world record-breaking crowdfunding campaign, raising $1.7 million in 30 days.

Since we launched in 2013, 50,000 members was always a magic number, a milestone we set our sights on.

So I’m really pleased to say we broke through that mark and now have 52,000 paying members! Some 78% of members pay €60 a year (around $65), the other 22% pay €6 a month ($6.50).

Here’s the breakdown of our growth:

  • At the launch of De Correspondent in September 2013: 20,000
  • At the end of 2014: 30,000
  • At the end of 2015: 41,000
  • At the end of 2016: 52,000 paying members

And here’s how we invested the membership fees

Graphic by De Correspondent / Leon Postma

The Correspondent in English

We invest in translations because we primarily focus on global developments and want to share our findings with as many people as possible. Our international team translates and promotes one English article per week, such as this exposé about TPP think tanks, this crash course on climate change, and this piece on why poor people make such poor decisions.

And you might have seen our Trump coverage by Sarah Kendzior:

You can sign up for our free weekly newsletter if you’d like to receive our stories in English.

Our 3 biggest challenges for 2017

  1. Give our readers the means to build a reputation on our platform.
    Our correspondents share story ideas and keep public notebooks so readers can contribute their own expertise to our reporting. This leads to richer, well-founded stories and loyal readers. We now want to invest in helping our reader-experts establish a reputation on our platform, by offering verified job titles and better profile pages.
  2. Inform readers using articles, but experiment with more sustainable formats, such as tools or crash courses. For inspiration, I regularly reread this article from The New York Times Research & Development blog:

Reach out if you want to learn more (because we’re fighting the same battle)

So we’ll keep sharing our progress and our setbacks, our challenges and new ideas in this Medium collection. Let us know if you’d like to learn more about things we’re doing in the Netherlands. Feel free to reach out at ernst-jan [at] decorrespondent.nl or @ejpfauth. Our team will also be attending the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

Until next time!

The Correspondent

The Correspondent is a movement for radically different…

Thanks to Rob Wijnberg

Ernst Pfauth

Written by

Cofounder & CEO of The Correspondent. Working to bring our ad-free, reader-funded journalism to the US and beyond.

The Correspondent

The Correspondent is a movement for radically different news. Founded in Amsterdam, now bringing our ad-free, member-funded, collaborative journalism to the English language.

Ernst Pfauth

Written by

Cofounder & CEO of The Correspondent. Working to bring our ad-free, reader-funded journalism to the US and beyond.

The Correspondent

The Correspondent is a movement for radically different news. Founded in Amsterdam, now bringing our ad-free, member-funded, collaborative journalism to the English language.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store