Soon-to-be launched Dutch news site De Correspondent shocked its own founders after raising more than €1 million from advance subscribers in eight days — and 13 fundraising days still remain.
Creator Rob Wijnberg told The Editor's Weblog he originally thought De Correspondent had a 50 percent chance of meeting its goal of 15,000 members. But as of Thursday, more than 17,000 people have shelled out €60 for an annual subscription to the news site, set to launch in September. According to the site, 48 members have additionally donated €1,000 or more to fund the project.
“We were overwhelmed, especially by how fast it was and especially by how much enthusiasm people showed for the initiative,” Wijnberg said. “People really mailed us lots of letters and tweets and everything saying that ‘I’m so glad you started this.’ We didn’t expect that.”
While this sort of drive is unusual, it is not unprecedented. Several years ago Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano similarly preemptively fundraised, and collected €5 million from 30,000 advance subscribers in 3 months.
De Correspondent has been in the works since Wijnberg quit his job as editor of Dutch national newspaper NRC Next in September. He said he noticed how people are “hounded by news” — often “struck by the same news from all different directions.”