Quarterly Fundraiser: An End of Week Appeal for $800 to Support My Work on Guantánamo and Torture

10.6.11

Please support my work!

When certain pundits gaze over the media landscape in the second decade of the 21st century and warn apocalyptically of the demise of newspapers and of serious journalism, they tend to overlook the fact that, ever since formatted blogging first became massively popular around 2005, allowing anyone to write and publish without being a techie, much of journalism’s future has migrated steadily away from the traditional mainstream media and onto the Internet.

Here, and especially in what is sometimes called the progressive blogosphere, anyone seeking detailed information about newsworthy topics can compare and contrast material from countless different sources (both traditional and new media), moving definitively away from a model that demanded allegiance to one particular newspaper, and can also, in general, research topics in greater depth than was available when the traditional media were the gatekeepers of the news. Providing a depth of research and commentary about Guantánamo is something that I have tried to do since I began blogging on a full-time basis four years ago, and along the way I have established an archive of over a thousand articles that keeps the story of Guantánamo alive (as the mainstream media’s interest ebbs and flows), and that also continues to draw in new readers.

One of the problems for journalists in this new world is, or course, how to make a living, and over the last four years, in which I have written on an almost daily basis about Guantanamo and related issues, and have recently branched out into dealing with the revolutionary movements in the Middle East, and the depressing state of Britain under the Tories (and their Lib Dem stooges), I have found myself inadvertently establishing a career as a freelance investigative journalist that has involved (1) working, some of the time, for new media outlets and other organisations that pay their writers and researchers, (2) writing much of the time for no money at all, and also being involved in other activities — attending events or being a commentator, for example — which are often unpaid, and (3) also seeking to establish a viable model of reader-funded journalism.

In pursuing the model of reader-funded journalism, I have been putting out a fundraising appeal every three months for the last two years, and this week I have asked my readers and supporters to help me raise $2000. This is not a vast amount of money, and nor is it enough to live on, but if those who enjoy my work provide me with $8000 a year then I am less reliant on the vagaries of the freelance world, and can pursue the kind of research and analysis that recently led to me updating my four-part definitive Guantanamo prisoner list (see the introduction here, and see Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four), and which, over the next six months, will involve me analyzing, transcribing and reporting on all of the 765 classified military documents relating to the Guantanamo prisoners (the Detainee Assessment Briefs) that were released by WikiLeaks in April, when I worked with them as a media partner.

This week my quarterly fundraising appeal has, to date, raised $1200, from 17 generous friends and supporters, and as the week ends I’m putting out a final appeal for support, asking those who believe that my work is important to help me raise another $800.

If you can help out at all, please click on the “Donate” button above to make a payment via PayPal. All contributions are welcome, whether it’s $25, $100 or $500. Readers can pay via PayPal from anywhere in the world, but if you’re in the UK and want to help without using PayPal, you can send me a cheque (address here — scroll down to the bottom of the page), and if you’re not a PayPal user and want to send a check from the US (or from anywhere else in the world, for that matter), please feel free to do so, but bear in mind that I have to pay a $10/£6.50 processing fee on every transaction. Securely packaged cash is also an option!

My thanks again for all your support. I couldn’t keep this up without your interest, and your positive feedback, and my work only has meaning through those who read it, and comment on it, and tell others about it.

Andy Worthington
London
June 10, 2011

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in June 2011, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, on tour in the UK throughout 2011, and available on DVD here — or here for the US), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles.

11 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    I just Dugg this and shall now share it. Besides an appeal, your text is a good introduction to a new sort of journalism. Two days ago I read (but don’t know if it is true) that Google personalises its responses to a person by what some algorithm knows about the person. It tailorrs the ordering according to what it believes are your tastes. If so, and if people choose to get news from behind paywalls–in the worst case by paying per article–then access to new and possibly important information will be more limited than I had thought, since some context will often not show up. Detailed and extensive online reporting can help alleviate this problem: long articles with plenty of links.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, George. I had hoped that my thoughts on the new journalism had some purpose. Do you have the link for that article about Google, as it sounds interesting, if a little troubling. To date, Google’s algorithms seem to have helped rather then hindered independent bloggers like me, but I do worry that the system is vulnerable to outside pressure.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Alas, I don’t Andy. I should have saved it. Let me look in my “history” and see if I can find it. I think I remember that the article did not say how a search engine seems to know one’s tastes. A friend in Amsterdam worked out the maths of Google’s orderings, about 5 years ago. Perhaps I can ask him.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Here is one item. Parisa is well-known. This is not what I found, but I now think I can find it.
    http://robin1966.blogspot.com/2011/06/google-using-our-own-tastes-to-decide.html

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Here we go. This might not be the page that I found (cannot remember), but I think the text is nearly or exactly the same
    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/05/12/pm-how-the-internet-is-being-filtered-specifically-for-you/
    This time I’ll save it, and hope that the author is wrong.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, George. So here we go, Eli Pariser, author of “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You,” talking to journalist Kai Ryssdal:

    RYSSDAL: So what’s happening here, in essence, is that the Internet is turning into ‘my’ Internet? Is that a fair summation?

    PARISER: Yeah, that’s right. Kind of invisibly, without people noticing, websites are beginning to cater themselves to what you individually want to see. So for example, if you search on Google for, say, bin Laden or Obama, and I search for that same term at the same time, we may see very different results. And this is kind of spreading across the Internet.

    RYSSDAL: Well isn’t that a good thing, because I don’t necessarily want to see what you want to see?

    PARISER: Well it can be. But the problem is that people don’t really know that it’s happening, and at times, what it means is that things that are really important or that might be unexpected or challenging views don’t get seen. Instead, you see what you want to see, which feels very comfortable, but can lead to really bad decisions.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    The key phrase: “things that are really important or that might be unexpected or challenging views don’t get seen. Instead, you see what you want to see.”
    I need to read more about this, George, but thanks for pointing it out. Tailoring what we want to “consume,” as determined by studying our tastes, just sounds very narrow, as though our intellectual lives are nothing more than supermarket shopping lists …

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    That was the phrase that started me thinking. Besides narrowing one’s tastes, it makes it difficult to find those “unexpected or challenging views…” Of course, these are the things that people who wish to be well-informed, and journalists who help us do just that, might miss. Worse yet, it can be used as a form of thought-control, by helping to keep users minds focussed on whatever the controllers want. I’m a pretty suspicious fellow, and I think Mr Pariser missed my last point.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Agreed, George. Glad we’re suspicious about the same things …

  10. Andy Worthington « Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton and Charles Goyette says...

    […] Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, discusses his micro-fundraiser – give a few bucks to the world’s best Guantanamo reporter why dontcha? – Andy’s very brief employ […]

  11. Andy Worthington | ANOMALY RADIO says...

    […] Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, discusses his micro-fundraiser – give a few bucks to the world’s best Guantanamo reporter why dontcha? – Andy’s very brief employ […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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