Hard News by Russell Brown


Public Address and PressPatron

Last week we flicked the switch on something that's been a while coming: a new payments platform called PressPatron that provides a way for you to support not only Public Address, but, before long, a range of other blogs and websites – all from a single account that you control.

The delivery of PressPatron is a testament to the vision and persistence of Wellingtonian Alex Clark, who developed his idea in an MA thesis on news funding models, then found investors, hired developers and got his product built. His plans extend beyond independent media and beyond New Zealand, and I'm really proud to have hosted the very first deployment.

Now that a soft launch with readers who had previously been supporting the site via PayPal has been staged with just a handful of minor problems, we're ready to invite everyone in. You can simply go to our Supporters page to set up an account.

There's no paywall to get past, and in our case anyway, there won't be. (My main contribution to the project was point out to Alex that for sites like this a paywall was neither necessary or desirable.)

Some of you have been supporting us monthly for a while, either through PayPal or bank transfer, and I'm extremely grateful for that, but I'm inviting you now to switch to PressPatron. It's far better for me as a publisher and offers a lot more to you as a subscriber. You can also make one-off contributions and there should eventually be a way for you to direct those to particular bloggers. I get a clear statement of earnings each month, which I'll publish.

What will I do with the income? Well, it's early days yet and I've let contributions run down in the last few months in anticipation of the new platform, so I'll see what happens. Initially, the money will hopefully make it worth my while simply operating the site, but I want it to help fund some deeper journalism by me and our other bloggers. If I can deliver a story I think is important without having to try and shop it to another editor (who has probably had her or his freelance budget cut three times in the past six months), that's a great result for me. At any rate, I hope to at least be able to justify blogging more frequently.

But the site is due for a refresh of both its design and structure and it would be good to embark on that this year. I'm also wondering about moving to more multi-author "topic" blogs like our disability blog, Access.

But let's see what happens. For now, I'm delighted to have PressPatron up and running.

You can read more and create an account via our new Supporters page.

This is probably also a good time to remind you about the Public Address mailing list, which sends out links to new posts most weekdays.


In a somewhat related vein, Public Address last week switched from http to the more secure https protocol. Your existing http bookmarks should siply redirected to the new, secure URL, but that hasn't been working forsome people (me included). The fix until the CactusLads work it out is to edit your browser bookmark, so that it starts https:// rather than http:// – or simpley go to the home page and create a new bookmark from that.

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