February 2021 marked two years since we relaunched. We have brought to you the stories you wouldn’t have otherwise seen. We have been there to put out those unheard voices. We have helped solve cases whose victims had given up.
However, our effort may not have been to the expectation of many. We didn’t write many of those powerful stories. On a daily basis, we have received news tips which we couldn’t follow up. We would like to be present across all Rwanda’s villages. But we weren’t able.
The reason is we didn’t have the resources necessary. Our small newsroom has been stretched beyond the limits.
The Chronicles – like the rest of the media – is operating in an incredibly challenging commercial environment. Producing in-depth, thoughtful, well-reported journalism is difficult and expensive.
To help us keep covering Rwanda, we’re asking you the Reader to consider contributing financially towards our work. If everyone chipped in, our future would be more secure.
You’ll be investing in trusted news at a time when it is needed more than ever. We would like to document Rwanda’s remarkable progress. Help give Rwanda the coverage it deserves. For a Rwf 1,000 or $1 contribution or much more, you will help solve a case that has existed for years.
The sustainability of The Chronicles remains a challenge because the traditional sources of revenue have not worked in our favour. Our plight is not different from other private and independent media in Rwanda. A media sustainability index by IREX in 2012 summed up the survival challenges we face.
There are multiple sources of revenue for private media ranging from advertising, sale of copies, supplements, bank loans and other new ways especially for online media. Most of these sources influence editorial lines of those media.
The most intense pressure comes from big advertisers, who demand positive coverage about their companies or products and ensure any stories that could lead to unfavorable portrayals, are killed. Politics matter when it comes to soliciting advertising, especially from government ministries and departments. Media outlets viewed as critical of the authorities never win government advertising business.
The emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic since late 2019, and the whole of 2020, further complicated our survival. We have struggled to remain on the market. Despite having no resources – leaving our team working on a voluntary basis, we have not stopped providing you stories every day.
As we indicated in our relaunch Editorial in February 2019, titled: ‘Promoting Ethical Journalism; Informed Citizenry and Free Debate‘, technology has affected how news and information is accessed and shared today, in the processing making traditional media business models obsolete. This technological disruption has transferred the role of “breaking news” away from traditional media, to social media, making it difficult to adjust.
As a study by Pax Press published in 2016 indicated, only 2.1 percent of stories published; aired or telecast in are investigative stories and 2.4 percent are interpretive stories. The Chronicles was reborn to fill this gap by focusing on interpretive and investigative journalism.
In addition, the same study showed that only 56% of overall stories in the media focus on policy in a general manner with most of the stories coming from meetings and workshops. We re-launched The chronicles to cover policy in more substantive manner, rather than as events in workshops or conferences.
The founding philosophy of The Chronicles is that human beings, including Rwandans, have an inalienable right to think and self-express freely. For this right to be meaningful, Rwandans, like any human beings need a trusted forum to mediate the exchange of ideas, views and information. We believe that it is through this kind of interaction that Rwanda can pursue sustainable development, peaceful co-existence and entrench a democratic culture.
For the past two years, and as you the Reader experienced during our first presence on the market, we have been trying to tell the story as it is. We have gone the extra mile, like any professional media should, as the single media to report on many issues. Our experience shows true journalism is costly and that is why we need your support to keep the flame alight.
Our founding partners have used up all their savings to put in place the journalism you can trust. We cannot give up, just because we don’t have the resources. Up to 20,000 of you wake up every day to open our news platform, expecting to get a story not in any other media.
We are asking you to help us keep our small team in place. We would like to pay them sustainable wages. We will introduce new content products that we believe will keep you ever more glued to The Chronicles. We intend to expand The Chronicles content across text, audiovisual, streaming, and all the latest broadcast formats.
We also plan to set up a secure system on our site to allow you continue sending us news tips and documents.
We will pay taxes as required under Rwandan law.
From the subscriptions and contributions, we will also compile biannual reports detailing the financial state of The Chronicles. The report will be publicly accessible. We now consider every Reader as a shareholder in The Chronicles.
We don’t want interest groups to control what you read; WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO CONTROL what you read! Rwanda is an exciting place with a lot of new changes emerging daily. On the other hand, there are huge challenges. You can trust us to show this balanced image.
We don’t want to put a firewall on our content, because we believe it a necessity to everyone; students, people in public and private sector, the diaspora and the world community at large.
The few articles on our site aren’t giving you the full picture you deserve, your need many articles and we can do that with your help.
You can support The Chronicles journalism by contributing at your convenience; you could make a monthly contribution, annual, or whenever you log into our news page. Every Franc you contribute will keep another reporter out there.
At the tap of your phone to send us that support, you will have added a key brick to our future. You can contribute by using phone money transfer, debit card, or send directly to our bank account.
Reader, for us to be able to put up the structures, we need immediate financing. For the coming months and years, The Chronicles will need significant resources. But for even this to be possible, we need to raise at least Rwf 20m or $20,000 before the end of April. We are confident you can help us reach this milestone.
We will publish daily figures on how much has been raised to show how much can be achieved when a people agree.
Last, but not least, The Chronicles payment platform was developed by one of the most reputable firms. The contribution you will be making is through a world class payments provider. The two partners wouldn’t have offered their technology if they didn’t believe in our credibility.
I ask you to continue believing in us.
Contribute now HERE and also subscribe.
Fred Mwasa, Editor
NOTE: Details on how to contribute are on the frontpage content menu bar. In case you would like any clarification, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Editor directly: mwasa[at]gmail.com