The Daily Vox started off as an experiment. When we first launched the project as South Africa Votes in January 2014, we anticipated covering the elections through the eyes of South African youth, and then, well, get back to our lives.
Eighteen months later, and we are now a respected media organisation, disrupting the status quo, expanding the narratives, and challenging mainstream media.
If you are not completely familiar with The Daily Vox, let us explain what we do:
1) We train, develop and brainwash young journalists, fresh out of journalism school or still in training, to focus on the basics of journalism: a focus on people, so that they might see the human behind the headline.
2) We tell stories that matter to people. We aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. And our agenda is made up of the aspirations of our newsroom.
In so doing, our brand of journalism is fresh, vibrant, robust and eclectic. We focus on politics, development, and lifestyle. We do it our way. Independently.
We are the newsroom that operates on the internet and in the backyard of our homes. We are the quintessential start-up challenging stereotypes and representing the aspiration of a youthful South Africa. While others talk, we make something happen. And our stories have been seen on The Guardian, Daily Maverick, Al Jazeera. Our work profiled by the Rhodes Journalism Review, ENCA, Future by Design Magazine, even the International Journalists’ Network (IJNET).
What does this mean?
It means that eight out of nine members of core staff are female and black. It means we look at the country through a completely different lens.
It means we can tell the story of the man selling insurance policies on the street or the KZN hijacker who became a fisherman.
It’s the type of independence that allows us to set the agenda. It means a journalist can raise her concerns about the Rhodes monument in Cape Town in an editorial meeting, then write a story, only to see #RhodesMustFall inspire a series of national student movements months later.
It means we can revisit a story as many times we want to, in order to get it right. It means we can drop everything and focus on one story. Be it the evictions in Lwandle or the xenophobia in Durban and Jozi. Our diverse, transformed newsroom, tackle stories without fear or favour. It is why we can focus on sexism in the country, in all its various forms, without limit.
It is why we can look at issues of transformation and racism, without paying lip service to a dominant narrative. The issues we cover matter to us because they relate to us.
But like everything else in life, our fiercely guarded independence comes at a price.
So far, we have been self-funded, using our own money, random donations and short-term grants to survive. And we have thrived. But with funding for journalism so difficult to secure, we’ve reached the end of the line. And we need public support to take us to the next phase.
How can you help?
We have worked out that if we are able to secure 1000 people to donate R200 or $15 each – a once-off donation – it would help us raise R200,000 or $15,000. This amount would take us to February 2016.
And why does that matter?
Let us be frank: we are journalists, not business people.
The R200,000/$15,000 would give us a safety net to keep searching for the right investors (we are picky!) and/or foundation money to take us forward as a sustainable news and media outlet.
It will allow us to invest more in marketing our work, finalising a more complete business plan, and moving towards world domination. If we succeed, you succeed. If we fail, well, you’ve lost R200/$15. But the opportunities are endless.
What is in it for you?
We wish we could send you a calendar, a book or a postcard.
But this is not that type of campaign. This is your publication. Consider all the threats to freedom of speech; consider how commercially driven the media has become. We are offering a unique opportunity to raise hell, through the voices of domestic, local talent.
We want you to feel a part of its growth. So this is what we offer:
- As a supporter of The Daily Vox, your donation may be important, but your voice is as important. Send us a donation, but send us a photo, and a line of why you support us. Use the #whyiVOX and we will add it to our supporters’ page.
- Every month we will have one open editorial. Readers can join a live hangout with our editors and staff and tell us what stories we ought to cover. You are welcome to join. There is nothing quite like it.3. We endeavour to keep working towards the establishment of a better journalism tradition.
We look forward to hearing from you.
The team at The Daily Vox.
To donate to our crowdfunding campaign, please visit our Indiegogo page. If you’d rather have our banking details, please email our Executive Editor, Khadija Patel: firstname.lastname@example.org.