SDM supports The Correspondent

The Democracy and Media Foundation (SDM) will support De Correspondent in its overseas expansion. The Dutch journalism platform, built thanks to a crowdfunding campaign in 2013, plans to launch an English-language version, The Correspondent, next year via a membership campaign. SDM will provide €600,000 in prefinancing, enabling preparations for the campaign to begin.

With 58,600 paying members, De Correspondent is the Netherlands’ largest ad-free journalism organization. It is conducting research with Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, to determine whether its ad-free, member-funded model can succeed in the English-language market. The Correspondent is expected to launch in late 2018.

SDM’s contribution will comprise a €300,000 investment and a €300,000 convertible loan. The foundation will receive a 5% stake and a priority share, allowing it to safeguard the platform’s fundamental principles when The Correspondent launches with member financing. SDM will therefore serve a similar function for the new edition as it does for the Dutch-language De Correspondent, in which it is also a priority shareholder.

SDM is a private nonprofit foundation. Any income from participating interests and investments is used to further its goals. The foundation has been involved in De Correspondent since the beginning. As a shareholder in both De Correspondent and the forthcoming The Correspondent, it is able to act where necessary to protect each platform’s status as a thorough, editorially independent, advertising-free media organization.

The foundation’s director, Nienke Venema, says she’s proud of SDM’s ongoing involvement with De Correspondent. “SDM seeks to make independent journalism possible, both now and in the future. Innovation is an essential part of that. De Correspondent’s success shows how important it is to have the courage to invest in innovative ideas and experiments. We have faith in the team behind De Correspondent and look forward to the results of this international venture.’

De Correspondent publisher Ernst-Jan Pfauth says, “We’re thrilled to be able to work with the Democracy and Media Foundation on our English-language edition. We’ve been partnering with them on De Correspondent for four years now with great success. Not only will this investment help us launch the English-language platform we’ve dreamed of, SDM will also protect our journalistic independence, in accordance with its mission.”


Note to the editors

The Democracy and Media Foundation was established in 1944 by the founders of the Dutch resistance newspaper Het Parool. Its mission is to facilitate quality journalism that promotes a democratic state. SDM invests in a range of journalistic activities and media companies, including De Persgroep Nederland and Mediahuis Nederland. SDM has been involved in De Correspondent’s development since the early stages. It supported the platform in 2013 with a loan and a grant.

De Correspondent is a daily ad-free Dutch-language journalism platform whose primary purpose is to provide readers with more context. Since a successful crowdfunding campaign in spring 2013 that saw more than 18,000 members sign up, its paying membership has grown to more than 58,000. De Correspondent was founded by philosopher-journalist Rob Wijnberg and publisher Ernst-Jan Pfauth with designer Harald Dunnink and CTO Sebastian Kersten, both of the Momkai design agency.

The Correspondent is the forthcoming English-language, global edition of De Correspondent. The member-financed platform is expected to launch in late 2018. A team led by New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen and research director Emily Goligoski (previously of The New York Times) is carrying out preliminary studies in the Membership Puzzle Project, a public research project investigating membership models in journalism.