The Objective is back

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After a three-month break, The Objective is back.

Our newsletters will be up and running again today. And over the coming weeks, we’re going to start publishing new stories and criticism. 

If you’re new to our work, our mission is simple: The Objective is a nonprofit newsroom holding journalism accountable for past and current exclusion, erasure, and prejudice in reporting and newsroom staffing. That means ​​holding newsrooms accountable for their failures and providing a counter to the homogeneity of media criticism and reporting.

Even if you’re familiar with our work, I figured I’d lay out exactly what we were up to while on break and what comes next.

A few months ago, The Objective leadership team (that’s me, Holly Rosewood, Chelsea Cirruzzo, Curtis Yee, Marlee Baldridge, and Janelle Salanga) took a break. Since we started in June 2020, we continued to operate at full speed. In short, we needed it. (If you’re interested, read more about the break here).

But the break wasn’t just to recharge. Not publishing also gave us time to figure out what The Objective will look like in 2022. 

You might have also noticed we have a new website and that we’re not on Substack anymore. Thanks to Ethan Coston and a bit of jerry-rigging on my end, we have a new website (We said we would leave Substack and we did).

Most importantly, after spending a year functioning as a volunteer-run organization, we can now pay our contributors. (That means you should pitch us!) In 2020, when the pandemic was still nascent in the U.S. and protests around police violence and deceit were at a fever pitch, we started as an informal volunteer collective, with the eventual goal of paying contributors. As of now, with a modest monthly budget, we can do exactly that. 

With the help of Lawyers for Reporters and our fiscal sponsor, The Institute for Nonprofit News, we can take in tax-deductible donations and use them to pay for our operations and most importantly, our writers. While our leadership team remains unpaid as of today, we plan to transition to modest stipends in the coming months. 

The vast majority of our donations will go to paying contributors (promptly).

I’ll be transparent: We can only afford to sustainably publish a few stories each month with our current budget. Last year we received two modest grants and a handful of folks have given us enough money to kick off the year, but we will be fundraising this year. A lot. And we’ll be working with the News Revenue Hub to ensure we stay on the right track. 

As we grow, we plan to increase contributor pay, too. And we plan on transparently sharing our contributor budget and payscale. Since we only recently gained the ability to fundraise, we’re starting with a virtually blank slate. As of today, our monthly story budget for the year is minimal: $400, which we can and will augment with story grants and donations. But that means we can currently only pay for between one and four stories each month, depending on length. 

Monthly Story BudgetReported PiecesPersonal NarrativesQ&ALongform Narrative

But don’t worry: we don’t plan to stop there. If you’re interested in knowing a bit about our strategy for fundraising, during November and December, we will participate in NewsMatch, meaning donations we receive then will be doubled (up to $1000 for each donor). Those two months will be critical in generating enough funds for us to sustain the next year. 

In the upcoming month, we’ll be publishing work funded by the National Association of Science Writers about science and objectivity, as well as our regularly scheduled programming of analysis and news. 

In the 50+ pieces we’ve published over the past year, a majority have been written by journalists of color — in many cases, reporters and writers told us they couldn’t find a home for their stories elsewhere. We are the only media criticism outlet with a mission to challenge journalism’s failures as they relate to objectivity. 

We plan on continuing to do that. We hope you’ll help us.

Our stories are funded by readers like you. 

The Objective is a nonprofit newsroom holding journalism accountable for past and current systemic biases in reporting and newsroom practices. We are written by and for those underrepresented in journalism.

Become a sustaining member of The Objective!

Help us examine systems of power and inequity in journalism

We’ve refined our mission and we have a plan to shift the way journalism is done — but we need 33 sustaining members to put it into action. Will you join us today?

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