The On London crowdfunding campaign began on 1 February, exactly one year after the site was launched, with the aim of raising £25,000 from readers, sympathisers and friends. As I write this, there are 10 full days remaining before the deadline for hitting the target expires (8.22 am on 8 March). Just over £10,000 remain to be pledged if that all-or-nothing total is to be reached. The maths are not difficult – an average of more than £1,000 a day needs to be donated in the remaining time available if On London is be able to keep going and growing for another year.
Why should you contribute your hard-earned cash to the cause? Let me put this way:
The issues facing the capital are becoming larger and more difficult by the day, yet there seems to be less fair and informed journalism about them than ever. Crowd-pleasing populism has pushed aside measured reporting and glory-seeking polemic has replaced clear, honest analysis of key themes like housing, transport and development – including among so-called “quality” Big Media outlets.
On London offers a small but potentially important alternative to all that. It has begun to establish itself. Its readership is influential and growing. Running it, writing it and publishing the work of a growing range of excellent fellow London writers has given me a lot of satisfaction for the past 12 months. The only problem is that this progress so far cannot be sustained, let alone enlarged and improved on, by my love for the job alone. And it is a job – a full-time, full-on occupation that does not, at this stage, even begin to pay for itself.
With £25,000 in the bank, On London will be able to take some important steps towards consolidating its success so far and building on it. The look of it can be improved, ideally with the construction of a bespoke new site and the commissioning of better visual content. The money would buy a little more of the time required to look more deeply into huge and complex themes like housing and homelessness, low pay and poverty and the implications of Brexit, but also more upbeat ones, such as the work of planners, architects, engineers and community organisers who are finding ways to make London a better place for those who live and labour here.
The sub-title of On London is “For The Good City”. London has been very good to me and, for all its failings, it continues to offer the promise of better lives for millions. To better keep that promise I believe it needs the contribution of the sort of journalism On London strives to provide. I have been genuinely moved by the messages of support left by many of those who have pledged to the crowdfunding campaign so far, some of whom I know do not have much to spare. If you value what On London does, please do your bit to keep it going and growing by making a donation, however small. Thank you.