Hooray! Met Our Sixth Goal, On to Our Seventh: More Original Reporting

If you don’t need to be persuaded to give but simply haven’t gotten around to it, please proceed straight to our fundraiser page to chip in!

Thanks to your generous and speedy responses, we’ve met our first six targets: support for essential IT infrastructure and improvements, bonuses to our loyal guest writers (who given their expertise and caliber of their work, deserve better than underwhelming standard writer pay levels), travel and site coverage expenses for meetups and conferences; funding to improve the comments section: resources so we can expand our reach, and providing the staffing to coverage without burning out of yours truly. Let me stress again: your donations have and continue to make all these critical items possible. And at 1443 donors, we’re within striking distance of our new goal of 1500 contributors for this fundraiser.

Our seventh goal is funding for more original reporting. Yes, it may sound peculiar to ask for that at this point in the fundraiser. Shouldn’t we have asked for that sooner?

The reality is that all the things we’ve asked for are essential to keep the site going as it is now and keeping it fresh in its current format. For instance, rewarding our regular writers isn’t just recognize their above-and-beyond the-call-of-duty dedication; it also helps in bringing new writers on board. And many of you have said that Links and Water Cooler are “must have” features. In the Trump era of news stories where the volume is often up to 11, finding the signal in the noise has become more daunting than ever.

Readers have told us that one of the things they particularly value about Cfdtrade is its no-holds-barred coverage of financial and economic news, and increasingly of the power dynamics that drive them.

From Roger H:

I should be thanking you and your chaps in a more substantial way Yves. I have only been able to understand Brexit from your site and from this fairly recent paper of the European Parliamentary Research Service which you have likely already seen, but just in case …..

Good luck to you and your team. Fingers crossed you are getting at least the satisfaction of keeping your readers properly informed. You should get more but that may have to await the return of justice and fairness and honour to the world of finance.

From Scott Z:

Thanks for all your work at bringing about a saner world and holding those who wield power
accountable.

Paul D wrote:

I was a Commissioner [details omitted] on the Retirement Board —- Your observations on CALPERS are spot on—- keep up the good work.

And Coleen M:

In any case, bless you and your staff for you do in the increasingly vacuous space of “news”.

One of the reasons we’ve been able to punch above our weight is the considerable and extremely high quality input we get from this community.

But as much as this site makes an important contribution via analyzing and adding expert insights to news stories, our greatest impact has come via original reporting. For instance, all of the officials we forced from their posts, the SEC’s Andrew Bowden for seeking a job for his son from the very people he regulates, the scandal-ridden fiduciary counsel Robert Klausner who had CalPERS as his client, and more recently, CalPERS’ former Chief Financial Officer Charles Asubonten, all resulted from stories that we broke. We also forced an industry-wide change in private equity by shaming CalPERS into disclosing how much it was paying via one of its biggest fees, the so-called carry fee. CalPERS’ change was widely described as a landmark. Even a guest speaker at CalPERS said its disclosures on fees and costs, which CalPERS made only under duress, had shaken other public pension funds into getting more serious about trying to contain them. Hubert Horan’s Uber series has led to reporters finally questioning the ride-sharing company’s fundamentals.

We’d like to do more reporting, but we’ve discovered why journalists take umbrage at bloggers: An originally-reported story takes roughly four to ten times the effort of a blog post of commentary and analysis. Consider :

In this economic environment, greenlighting time-consuming, in-depth reports that may get less traffic than lighter-fare articles has become increasingly rare. A recent report by Mother Jones in which a senior reporter worked four months as a corrections officer exemplifies this tension. The massive 35,000-word report exposed corruption in private prisons but conservatively cost $350,000 to produce and only brought in $5,000 in banner ads.

Now we admittedly have a leg up in that NC readers have an appetite for meatier content. But even so, original reporting doesn’t just take much more gumshoe work than analysis of news. It also involves pursuing leads that often don’t pan out. And it also can require meaningful hard dollar expenses, such as paying lawyers to pursue FOIAs when the government agency gives an obviously phoney-baloney excuse for withholding documents. Even a round or two of legal saber-rattling runs into thousands of dollars.

So that is a long winded way of saying that original reporting is costly but more and more important as the mainstream media is both running into budget constraints and becoming less intrepid generally.

Our target for original reporting is $35,000. We are already $8,530 towards that goal.

Im addition to continuing with our financial services industry spadework, we would have Lambert dig even deeper into healthcare, and turn our focus even more to Silicon Valley and its financial legerdemain and its increasing, troubling role in our power structure. We’d also like Jerri-Lynn Scofield analyze important legal decisions, and to have her and Lambert keep pursuing our “code as law” beat.

So those of you who have contributed already, thanks again for your generous support, and we look forward to those NC fans who have just found out about the fundraiser to help make the site more successful.

There are multiple ways to give. The first is here on the blog, the Tip Jar, which takes you to PayPal. There you can use a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal account (the charge will be in the name of Aurora Advisors).

You can also send a check (or multiple post dated checks) in the name of Aurora Advisors Incorporated to

Aurora Advisors Incorporated
903 Park Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10075

Please also send an e-mail to [email protected] with the headline “Check is in the mail” (and just the $ en route in the message) to have your contribution included in the total number of donations.

Donate now to Cfdtrade, whether it’s $5, $50, or $5000. If you can’t afford much, give what you can. If you can afford more, give more. If you can give a lot, give a lot. It will pay for itself, I guarantee you. This isn’t just giving, it’s a statement that you are want a different debate, a different society, and a different culture. As one reader wrote, “A small investment in our future, together.”

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