MAJOR UPDATE, 1 Feb 2018! The On London Crowdfunder page is now live! Follow this link and please pledge generously! Thank you!
Tomorrow will mark exactly one year since the launch of OnLondon.co.uk. I started the site for two main reasons after my award-winning columns about the capital for the Guardian came to an end. One was because the nine years I had spent as that organisation’s London commentator were by far the most professionally rewarding of my 35-year writing career. The other, more important, reason was that I believed that a dedicated news and commentary website about the capital’s politics, development and culture which transcended party lines and challenged conventional wisdoms was needed in these times of turbulence and rapid change in our vast and complex city.
As On London’s first birthday approaches I am more convinced of those things than ever. But to keep the site going and growing for at least another year, I need your financial support. Tomorrow will see the launch of a five-week On London Crowdfunding campaign with the aim of raising £25,000. It is an ambitious, all-or-nothing target which will only be hit if readers who value what I and my growing pool of guest writers do are prepared to donate in their hundreds. But with £25,000 in the bank I can do the following things and more.
- Really improve the look of the site.
- Hire some help, especially with visual content.
- Give opportunities to young journalists.
- Put resources into some truly comprehensive reporting of this year’s borough elections, in partnership with respected political analyst Lewis Baston.
- Find the time to do more in-depth coverage of major London issues, such as housing and homelessness, low pay and poverty and the implications of Brexit.
In the beginning, On London was written only by me. But as the months have passed, I have been delighted to carry more and more pieces by an array of prominent, talented and influential people who understand how London works and help to make it tick.
Politicians who have contributed include Karen Buck MP (Labour), Caroline Pidgeon AM (Liberal Democrat), Siân Berry AM (Green Party) and Councillor Daniel Moylan (Conservative), a former senior adviser to Boris Johnson. From the world of think tanks and academia, Richard Brown and Ben Rogers of Centre for London and Jack Brown of the King’s College Strand Group have graced the site.
Chris Paddock of Regeneris has provided insights into London’s planning history. Peter Murray of New London Architecture and the London Society has written about bridges that might have been and cycling schemes that ought to be. Rachel Holdsworth has fixed election literature and Sam Stopp has argued that the Bank of England ought to stay where it is. And through it all former Guardian leader writer Victor Keegan has been finding bits of Lost London, sometimes sending the site’s traffic soaring as a result.
I’ve been particularly pleased to provide close and detailed coverage of the internal Labour Party battles in Haringey and Newham – battles that are not over yet. I know that these have made an impact because journalist friends from Other News Organisations have been in touch about them quite a lot, politely requesting help.
My Crowdfunder page will go live in the next 24 hours. It will contain a promotional video, shot and edited by my student film maker friend Max Curwen-Bingley, and an enticing list of rewards linked to different donation sums. I hope you will find it persuasive and be moved to support OnLondon.co.uk as it strives to become bigger and better. That can only happen with your help. Thank you.