PRESS START: Crowdfunding Stories that Matter

Top Quote Meet the first crowdfunding platform designed specifically to support journalists where the press cannot report freely. End Quote
  • New York, NY (1888PressRelease) July 30, 2016 - Crowdfunding platform Press Start was launched this week. One of the first projects to get seed money from the Google Digital News Initiative's Innovation Fund, it aims to revolutionize the way the best and bravest reporters are funded in the growing list of countries where the press cannot report freely.

    Global press freedom sits at its lowest point in a decade, according to one respected measure. More than six billion people - most of the world's population - live in countries where journalists remain muzzled. Internet freedom is likewise in decline, and independent publishing faces increasingly sophisticated forms of control and censorship.

    Piling on, crippling political and financial pressures mean independent media struggle to produce quality journalism, to pay their reporters - no matter how talented and courageous - or even to survive.

    That's where Press Start comes in.

    We're the first global crowdfunding platform to connect journalists seeking to report the stories important to their communities with people around the world who understand the importance of a free press to democracy. These journalists put their careers and lives at risk to hold the powerful to account, and they need the public's attention and support.

    Press Start is an initiative of Transitions (TOL), one of Central Europe's leading journalism trainers and a Czech-registered nonprofit organization.

    "Through the journalism training programs we've run over the past 20 years, we hear the same thing over and over again," Press Start Founder Jeremy Druker said. "That even the smartest, bravest reporters, with all the skills in the world, still can't find the funding to do the journalism they know is needed - funding that is often hard to come by in poor, restrictive societies."

    With support from Press Start, for instance, Douce Namwezi N'ibamba can investigate where, exactly, millions of dollars of donor funding for clean-water projects have gone while people in a conflict-ridden eastern province of Congo still have to walk miles for potable water. Or Habib Battah can continue his investigations into the destruction of Lebanon's irreplaceable ancient sites by well-connected commercial developers.

    For our launch, we're highlighting specific projects by five outstanding journalists from Armenia, Congo, Honduras, Lebanon, and Macedonia. Each month we plan to focus on a new group of reporters, and eventually we will raise funds for series of articles, spread over several months. In that way, we can offer some stability and a lifeline for journalists in a precarious position.

    ""Press Start allows people from across the world to make a real impact by enabling local journalists to report on stories that are important to their communities and that would otherwise go untold," said Gary Regenstreif, chairman of Press Start's advisory board and former editor at large at Reuters. "Whether donors are in New York or Stockholm, Frankfurt or Tokyo, they can derive satisfaction from the fact that they are helping to inform those who may be in the dark and, in the process, strengthening democracies."

    Founded in 1999, TOL has implemented dozens of journalism training and freedom of expression projects in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. The organization also operates a popular news site on the post-communist region, Transitions Online, which was a founding member of the Guardian's New East Network.

    You can get more information and sign up for updates at, Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

    For more information please contact Jaroslav Valuch at jaroslav ( @ ) pressstart dot org.

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Contact Information
  • Jaroslav Valuch
  • Press Start
  • Press Start c/o Transitions LLC P.O. Box 2892 610 5th Avenue Ste CONC1 New York, NY 10020
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