That’s right, I’m crowdfunding!
Journalism was perhaps never the easiest career option; it’s not something anyone gets into for the big bucks, and there’s huge barriers to entry, with the expectation of free work* in return for ‘exposure’. What laughs - and here’s me, above, enjoying ’em.
What follows for many freelancers is years of slog for very little reward - save the warm fuzzies of doing something that feels like it matters.
Let’s not beat about the bush; I’m lucky to work in a specialism I love, and to have become somewhat of an expert in that field.
After a few years of this, though, I am at the point where I want to do more, braver, investigative work, and I have ideas for what I think are interesting, important stories, but I’m finding publications either can’t fund this kind of work, or don’t share my enthusiasm for investigative stories about cycling. I know, right.
For example, I was paid £90** for this Guardian ‘blog’, which was really a news piece, on the HS2 cycleway. That was for a day spent sitting in Parliament, as above, the only journalist in that committee meeting, and I don’t know how many more hours writing it up. I’m proud of the outcome, but that is clearly not sustainable, not least for someone who lives in London, one of the world’s most expensive cities.
If you’re here you probably feel the same way I do about cycling and walking – you believe they could transform both our urban and rural communities (I’m from the latter and live in the former, and understand both). Perhaps you want to see more stories about cycling/walking – what the barriers are to a decent, nationwide network of cycle routes, why the government seems so intent on spending more money on motor vehicle capacity, while consistently under-funding cycling. Where the cycling money goes.
I’ve tons of ideas, and am thinking about ways to publish – whether here, on my website, on a site like Byline, or somewhere else.
For now I’ve added two crowdfunding links on my new ‘support’ page; if you like what I do, take a look. I have a list of ideas I’d like to deploy, and your support will help me do the work I feel is important, and moves the conversation on active travel forward.
I do want this to be a conversation and I’ll ask for your input on what I cover – I look forward to you being part of that conversation.
* I’m still offered those free gigs, and probably always will, and I do accept some of them.
** In fairness to the blog editor, that’s just what that part of the website pays, and I knew that prior to writing the piece