NFP Global Mail News Site Seeks Philanthropic Lifeline
4 February 2014 at 10:03 am
The Global Mail staff is seeking investors or philanthropists who wish to see the Not for Profit news website continue after its main philanthropic benefactor pulled his funding.
Since the announcement last Wednesday that the founder of the global travel website Wotif and philanthropist, Graeme Wood would not continue to fund Australia’s first philanthropically funded Not for Profit news website, staff said they had received overwhelming encouragement and support from readers.
“Many of you have asked what you can do to help, offering to donate money or pay for a subscription to the site,” staff said in a statement.
“The staff at The Global Mail want to say thank you. We're sincerely touched by the reaction, and gratified that you enjoy and value our journalism.
“One supporter wrote on our Facebook page, ‘Something like TGM doesn't belong to the staff and editors, it belongs to the readers’.
“We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. And so we want to assure you that we hear your great ideas. As soon as we know anything for sure, we'll let you know. Watch this space.”
It has been reported that Woods pledged up to $20 million to The Global Mail.
Wood agreed that the staff was free to seek other investors or philanthropists who may wish to see the success of The Global Mail continue and expand.
“This allows us to pursue ambitious plans for the future. With the support of key figures in media globally, The Global Mail team is exploring various models – both philanthropic and commercial,” a staff statement from The Global Mail said.
“We are pursuing editorial and publishing partnerships in Australia and beyond.”
The Global Mail was launched in February 2012 as a philanthropically funded news site providing investigative and long-form feature journalism.
Last July it was named as the first institutional member of the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
It is understood that 21 of the 23 staff would be made redundant, including senior journalists and photographers.
The online news service will cease operations on February 20.
The Global Mail’s CEO Jane Nicholls last July said: “We are all well aware of how privileged we are to have Graeme’s generous support to focus on quality journalism, and we’re excited to be able to extend this to the inaugural ICIJ Global Investigative Journalism Fellowship.”
The Global Mail’s Director of Photography and veteran photojournalist, Mike Bowers says he’s saddened by the closure but that he has the greatest respect for Graeme Wood who “put his money where his mouth is”.
“I am pleased and proud of the work accomplished by the Global Mail which has given a voice to award winning photojournalism,” he said.
Bowers said that while it wasn’t the first redundancy for him, he was worried about the young talented journalists who found their first job with the Global Mail.
Graeme Wood revolutionised the travel industry in Australia when he created and cofounded Wotif.com in 2000. During his seven years at the helm, the Wotif Group became one of Australia’s most successful and well-known online businesses.
In October 2007, Wood retired from his role as CEO and Managing Director of Wotif, but continued to play a key strategic role in the company as an Executive Director and also maintained a significant financial interest.
The Wotif website says Wood is heavily involved in a range of philanthropic endeavours.
“He co-founded the University of Queensland Endowment and Benefit Fund, and donated $15 million to the establishment of University's Global Change Institute, which tackles some of the world's greatest challenges, including resource depletion, climate change and population growth.
“A passionate environmentalist and strongly committed to youth development, in 2008 Graeme launched the Not for Profit , non-political environmental charity Wild Mob. Wild Mob provides student volunteers the opportunity to undertake meaningful, scientist-led conservation projects in spectacular wilderness destinations, as they grow personally and educationally through experiential learning,” the website said.