Hands computer mouse
Credit: By Melissa Marques on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
A freelance journalist is attempting to raise £4,500 in crowdfunding to help cover her costs of travelling to Madagascar for three weeks to report on "good and bad news stories" from the country.

Emilie Filou's Kickstarter campaign has, at the time of writing, been pledged around £1,600, with just over a week remaining to receive further backing.

Following her travels to the country in 2011, as part of research for a Lonely Planet guide she was working on, she said she became "fascinated with the destination" and now wants to return in order to fill what she feels is a gap in coverage within the mainstream media.

On her campaign page she said her trip will enable her "to do on-the-ground reporting, take photos and produce a fresh batch of articles on the socio-economic situation, conservation issues, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and more".

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk she added that the country is "one destination where there is a lot of really interesting stuff happening and to write about".

"I really want to try and get some of these stories published, and for people to know about them.

"I think most freelance journalists – and I haven't asked people specifically, but anecdotally – everyone is struggling to find a model to travel, to go and research stories, to go and do original underground reporting.

"Because if it's not a newspaper who's going to cover your expenses then who will?"

She hopes the answer may be found in the crowd, and so turned to Kickstarter in a bid to fund her travel, with backers promised certain rewards – ranging from photo prints to full-coverage e-books – in return.

"If it works, it will be an indication that there are people out there who are still interested in paying for journalism," she said.

But, she added, coming up with the specific structure of her campaign was a new challenge to face as a freelance journalist.

"I don't know that the rewards are necessarily the right ones," she said. "I have given it my all in terms of what I think would work. But perhaps other journalists will find other things to reward their backers with.

"That is a really interesting concept to get your head around. Suddenly, instead of just selling content, you have to think of yourself as an entrepreneur. What do I give my investors and what will they be interested in?

"Whatever happens I am genuinely pleased I gave this a go, I don't regret it and I think the interaction with people has been brilliant and really interesting."

If the campaign is successful, it could highlight crowdfunding as a possible avenue for other freelance journalists to think about, she said.

And if not successful, she will still go to Madagascar, although she may have to cut down her travelling to just one region once she is there.

"Without Kickstarter I would have to just restrict myself to the south-west and try and work on ways to cut corners and cut costs as much as I can."

Once she has made her trip, the plan is to pitch to national, trade and consumer media. But if any stories do not make it into the national media, she is looking at ways she can take matters into her own hands, such as using Kindle's self-publishing platform "and maybe indulging in some long-form".

"There are so many different ways of getting your content out there. Obviously I would like to get something in the nationals. But if that's not possible there will be other ways to do that".

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).

blog comments powered by Disqus