NL Sena: For The Love of Independent Media
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NL Sena: For The Love of Independent Media

Let's change the world - one hard-hitting, comprehensive, investigative ground report at a time.

By Chitranshu Tewari

Published on :

Many well-wishers and haters over the past few years feel the need to remind us how difficult or foolish it is to try building an independent media company that’s funded and supported by viewers and readers. Their reason: Indians don’t pay for news, you have to have some big-time patrons in the government or in private corporations to send big-time ads your way. Yet, over the last two years, we have built a community of subscribers who share our passion for independent media and pay to keep us free.

In just one year, the count for our active subscribers has tripled. So has the awareness that a robust and unafraid news media cannot survive without the public paying for news. So much so, that there’s a new crop of players in the digital space who are entirely sourcing their revenue from subscriptions. How’s that for #NLimpact, naysayers?

Now, as we move on to the next phase, we need more support – for investigative reportage on issues that are either buried or ignored by big media newsrooms. This is not because big media is evil or bad. When you need to sustain large operations like big media agencies, you need to play safe. It’s the business model that is flawed and a structure that keeps costs high, where a number of eyeballs or viewership is the ultimate metric of success. We know Bigg Boss will always beat Satyamev Jayate in terms of ratings. Investigative and comprehensive ground reports need time and resources. They are expensive. Which is why when you are after eyeballs (to attract advertisers), a 45-minute, hysterical shouting match in a studio will always be a better business decision than sending a reporter or two, with a cameraperson to a far-off area, to spend 10 days pursuing a story that may or may not work out.

That’s where you, dear news consumer, come in.

Be a part of our NL Sena and change that very fundamental logic of news. NL Sena – the peaceful army that keeps news unafraid and independent.

Across the world, more and more independent outlets are taking the crowd-funding route to do stories and reportage that big media won’t do. From Norway’s De Correspondent, which raised €1 million in a crowd-funding campaign, to El Español of Spain, which raised €3.7 million in just two months, readers are proving that the only way for news models to be truly independent and upstage the perils of paid-media, is with the support of viewers and readers. To those who say not enough people really care about independent news and are satisfied with media rants, we channel Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

So, we will allow ourselves to act on faith because Bapu had said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world” (of media, we would like to add).

So now you can not only subscribe to Newslaundry, but also become a more impactful member of our community by being a part of the NL Sena.

You can contribute directly to a story, the budget of which will be displayed with the story description on the NL Sena page . Here is what it will look like.

Here are the NL Sena slabs and what you will get in return.

Bishop | Amount: Rs 10,000

  • Credit as a patron in the story

  • ‘I pay to keep news free’ mug

  • Six-month Liberator subscription

  • Personalised NL Sena’s Bishop badge (virtual) and Facebook cover picture

  • Shout-out on Newslaundry’s social media accounts

Knight | Amount: Rs 20,000

  • Credit as a patron in the story

  • ‘I pay to keep news free’ mug and a set of coasters

  • Six-month Liberator subscription

  • Personalised NL Sena’s Knight badge (virtual) and Facebook cover picture

  • Shout-out on Newslaundry’s social media accounts

Rook | Amount: Rs 30,000

  • Credit as a patron in the story

  • ‘I pay to keep news free’ mug, a set of coasters and one Hafta notepad

  • Six-month Liberator subscription

  • Personalised NL Sena’s Castle badge (virtual) and Facebook cover picture

  • Shout-out on Newslaundry’s social media accounts

King / Queen | Amount: Rs 40,000

  • Credit as a patron in the story

  • ‘I pay to keep news free’ mug, one set of coasters, one Hafta notepad, and a copy of Amar Bari, Tomar Bari, Naxalbari (an NL comic book)

  • Six-month Game Changer subscription

  • Personalised NL Sena’s King/Queen badge (virtual) and Facebook cover picture

  • Shout-out on Newslaundry’s social media accounts

Grandmaster | Amount: Rs 50,000

  • Credit as a patron in the story

  • ‘I pay to keep news free’ mug and T-Shirt, one set of coasters, one Hafta notepad, and one Naxalbari comic book

  • Six-month Game Changer subscription

  • Personalised NL Sena’s Jedi Grandmaster badge (virtual) and Facebook cover picture

  • Shout-out on Newslaundry’s social media accounts

So let’s try and change the world of news together. Our first project using this model kicks off this week where we are sending two reporters to pursue a story long overdue. Get involved, never do anything. For any questions, shoot us an email on nlsena@newslaundry.com or tweet to us with #NLSena.

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