2010 begins a decisive decade that will determine our future. A tectonic economic, environmental and geo-political shift will force a basic change in the way we live, work and do business. This crisis can give rise to an era of conscious, more rational and democratic living, where the public interest dominates policy. However, there is a possibility that the failure of current policy will create the conditions for a far-right administration in the United States, Canada, the UK and other countries. An even more authoritarian corporate-state would follow. The forces of inertia and complacency are powerful.
We must build institutions that can withstand the storm and fight for peoples' right to know. At The Real News Network, we have taken up this work. If you haven't already done so, will you become a member and join in this mission?
Since 2007, The Real News has produced more than four thousand stories, viewed more than forty million times. The support of our members made it possible.
We are also writing to tell you of two exciting developments with The Real News Network. In 2010, TRNN plans to create a flagship debate show and by the end of the year, launch the TRNN cable television channel in the US and Canada.
2010 will also be a critical year for The Real News Network. To accomplish our objectives, we must achieve sustainability based on member support. We are not there yet. Once achieved, we will launch the debate show and move to television.
Thousands of people are viewing TRNN everyday, but not everyone has joined by making a tax-deductible donation. We hope after reading this letter, you will choose to become a Real News member. You can help make The Real News possible and get a DVD gift to boot. If you would like to go to the donation page now, please click DONATE.
Today, our spending is a relatively modest $70,000 per month, with membership funding 50% of that. The balance has come from foundation grants and a start-up loan. The funds from the seed loan, however, have now been spent.
To realize our strategic vision for 2010 and beyond, we need to stabilize the current operation based on membership donations. With that achieved, we will raise additional seed funding for the move towards a television channel.
2009 was an important year for The Real News. Recent examples of our groundbreaking work includes:
- Our ongoing coverage and analysis of the economic crisis including the Vale-Inco nickel miners' strike and our series with retired Autoworkers in Detroit. From understanding derivative schemes to proprietary trading; from why wages are low to the problems facing unemployed and unorganized workers - TRNN is becoming a leading voice for news about the economy.
- Our coverage of Afghanistan focusing on the real strategic objectives of the war.
- Leading the way on coverage of the coup in Honduras, including exposing the fraudulent claim of a 62% participation rate in Honduran elections - a fraud that is leading some governments to recognize an illegal regime.
- Our ongoing reporting of the American health care debate including a key story of atown hall in Virginia.
- Our ongoing treatment of the climate change crisis which focuses on real solutions and exposing false ones, including this debate on cap and trade.
- The Middle-East has been an focus including the story Remote Control Occupationfrom our journalist based in Israel.
The Real News Debates
We will build the network around a flagship debate show that challenges assumptions on all sides with courage, wit and facts.
Producers will work hard to find guests representing a broad range of political opinion combined with real knowledge. We will find guests who propose solutions based on research and a deep understanding of a problem. With fair debate, The Real News will break down the ideological and partisan silos that confine news and comment on television today.
Our members will participate with real time fact checking, proposing guests and topics, helping prepare research, and joining a real and virtual live audience that participates in the debate.
For, by and about people who are unemployed
We shall address a special section of our news coverage and web site to people most affected by the crisis, targeting centers of high unemployment. We will try to answer two critical questions for our viewers: "Why is this happening to me?" and "What can I do about it?" If we can answer these questions in a popular, understandable and trustworthy way, we can help unemployed people participate in finding solutions in their own interest.
Here's what we plan for 2010:
- Launch The Real News Debates and develop an innovative web platform that allows interactivity between citizens and journalists and engages its audience through the use of social media
- Fund producers who can focus on thematic "beats" to strengthen our coverage in critical areas
- Develop more ways for our members to get involved in creating new content and in developing the overall vision of TRNN
- Focus TRNN efforts on funding and launching a digital TV channel in the US and Canada
- Develop innovative ways of monetizing web traffic
- Develop a paid mobile phone app
- Secure radio distribution for The Real News Debates
We need your imagination, skills, wisdom and engagement to make all of this possible. If you would like to volunteer or advise please let us know. TRNN can only go big if we work at it together.
As Karen Armstrong writes in The Great Transformation, the great sages arose at a time of the decline of empire "when society had lost its moorings". We believe we are entering such an era.
People are becoming more open to bold ideas that transcend 20th century dogma. With the digital revolution, perhaps the prophets of this era will be produced by the collective wisdom of people around the world. With the engagement of our members, collaborating with professional journalists, The Real News Network can be the place for people to investigate, report, debate, view and make - real news.
Best wishes for the New Year,
Paul Jay and The Real News Network team
If you would like to go to the donation page now, please click DONATE.