220 contributors and $41,000 in donations is pretty impressive

Alternative news site The Online Citizen started a fundraiser on 16 February, in preparation for the upcoming General Elections (GE) which they believe to be this year.

According to The Opinion Collaborative Ltd, which The Online Citizen is part of, they do not receive foreign funding and hence needs donation drives and advertising to fund expenses.

They initially asked for $30,000, in order to cover various costs which are considered essential for wide coverage during the GE. The reason for the site’s existence in the first place is because they believe in an open media environment, one not dominated by the mainstream media which is widely considered to be pro-Government.

While still short of their main goal of $50,000, $41,000 is a pretty impressive amount for an online-based news website.

Why did these people donate?

Probably the biggest reason for TOC receiving these donations is the website’s content – while leaning towards a pro-Opposition slant, they manage to be critical without sounding like buffoons. The TOC staff are volunteers and do actual reporting work as well as provides daily original content, especially during General Elections.

These donators believe that TOC can match up to the mainstream media’s level of coverage, but without the obvious pro-Government bias. We think people can do whatever they want with their money; if they wish to support anyone, they are free to do so.

An ex-editor for the website, Jeremy Chiang, managed to get this snippet of a GE 2011 rally:

Very illuminating, wasn’t it? TOC expects to do more content like that with the money they received.

We have to call a spade a spade, and admit that TOC is really more anti-PAP than aligned with any particular opposition party. However, they have been a refreshing change to the scene, proving that SPH and Mediacorp are not the only two companies who can deliver news to the masses.

Is GE2015 really happening?

We can only assume that TOC began the fundraiser early in order to have ample time for training up their “citizen journalists”, who are expected to contribute during the upcoming elections and beyond.

Because frankly, no one besides the PM knows when the elections will be held.

Do they have insider info, or are they just guessing? Probably the latter.

Either way, we’re looking forward to coverage similar or surpassing that of what they did during GE 2011.

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Featured image via The Online Citizen
With references from Pozible, The Online Citizen, The Opinion Collaborative