Dutch website offers US ‘antidote’ to daily news grind

Dutch ad-free news website De Correspondent plans to expand its formula of actively seeking contributors’ help and deeper analysis to the US

A Dutch ad-free news website, which actively seeks contributors’ help in its reporting and foregoes breaking news in favour of deeper analysis, is about to expand across the Atlantic.

Amid the blaring headlines, the breathless drama of 24-hour TV news, the lure of clickbait and noisy hand-wringing about a media industry in crisis, De Correspondent deliberately spreads an aura of calm.

So successful has it proved in The Netherlands in living up to its pledge to provide “an antidote to the daily news grind” that it is now planning to go straight to the heartland of so-called fake news — the United States.

But don’t expect a reporter from its new English version, The Correspondent, to be jostling for space at a Donald Trump press conference any time soon.

“We won’t be focusing on what is in the media today, but on what is not in the media and should be in the media,” said one of its two co-founders, Rob Wijnberg.

De Correspondent launched in September 2013 after Wijnberg, 35, and Ernst-Jan Pfauth, 31, both journalists, found themselves out of a job in late 2012, but driven by an idea of what they felt journalism should be.

In an audacious crowd-funding campaign launched in March 2013, they raised 900,000 euros (then $1.3 million) in just eight days.

By mid-April, the pot had grown to $1.7 million, enough to fund 13 staff, premises in Amsterdam and the design of a website.

In the days when crowd-funding was in its infancy “we figured this is kind of a long shot,” Pfauth told AFP.

– Journalism manifesto –

But idealistic, and brimming with ideas, Wijnberg had drawn up a manifesto of principles around which to build their members-funded platform.

Co-founders of De Correspondent online news website, Ernst-Jan Pfauth (pictured) and Rob Wijnberg, were driven by an idea of…

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