Community Press Crowdfunding Scheme
Initiators: Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Alex Chow Yong-kang, Leung Kai-chi, Au Nok-hin, Clarissa Yeung, Ip Iam-chong, Katty Law
Initiating organization: Hong KongIn-media
Implementing organization: inmediahk.net
Why do we advocate community press? As the society feels perplexed by macro political issues, what is often ignored is that district councils in Hong Kong are elected by universal suffrage. In district council elections, voters in general are only concerned about services provided by candidates in their constituencies. They are often not aware of the roles of district councilors in the planning and development of their districts, including allocating funds for community activities and public works that cost tens of millions of dollars, nor are they aware of the constitutional responsibility and political roles of district councilors in Hong Kong as a whole. Without free press reporting, it would be difficult for the public to monitor district councils, not to speak of genuine democratic participation. We would, therefore, like to raise Hong Kong people’s sense of belonging to their communities through community press so that every person aspires for more participation in their communities. This would serve to build a strong foundation for Hong Kong’s democratic development.
Creating sense of belonging and identity and fostering community-level democracy
One of the challenges in practicing community-level democracy is that even though, like legislative councilors, district councilors are elected, they do not have as much opportunity to publicize their political views through mass media. In the meantime, kaifong do not have any means to find out and to monitor the work of district councilors. It is also difficult for kaifong to discuss in public visions of community that vary. A platform at the community level is needed to foster public discussions with the aim of encouraging everyone to speak out on community affairs.
可惜，主流媒體往往因為資源、人手有限和受眾不廣而忽視社區新聞。縱觀全港 18 區，人口由 15 萬到 65 萬不等，放在外國已是一個小城鎮的規模，一樣有各種重要事務值得居民去關心。無論是規劃、交通或社區服務都要有專業的團隊去跟進調查，引發街坊一起討論。
Mainstream media often ignores news on the community level due to lack of resources and human power, and also because of the smaller audience that community news garner. The population size of the 18 districts of Hong Kong ranges from 150,000 to 650,000, which is already the size of a small town in other countries. Like those towns, each district in Hong Kong has its own important affairs that local people are concerned about. To encourage discussion of community affairs among kaifong, there must be a professional team in each district to follow up on and investigate local issues, whether it be planning, transportation or community service.
我們相信，只有通過建立屬於街坊的社區媒體，讓街坊重視當區人和事，不要把社區當作是一個晚上回來睡覺的地方，由下而上的民主參與方能確立。我們更相信，只要街坊有恆常渠道監督區議會的工作，議員的議政水平將可大幅提升。為了讓 18 區人要關心 18 區事，我們要在各區籌辦社區報。
We believe that to build bottom-up democratic participation, there must be a community media that belongs to kaifong and that enables them to value and attach importance to people and things in their community instead of seeing their neighborhood as a place they go back to sleep at night.
Moreover, we believe that so long as there is a stable and regular means for kaifong to monitor the work of district councils, the level of deliberation among district councilors can be raised to a much higher level. To encourage kaifong in the 18 districts to concern themselves with affairs in their own districts, we have to establish a community paper in each district.
Training community reporters, publishing model projects
We are initiating a crowdfunding scheme that aims at raising $300,000 to train community reporters and to publish model projects using Hong Kong In-media as the platform. The goal is to nurture community press that are able to sustain and self-finance their operation and make an impact in the communities they serve.
Presently Hong Kong In-media has two programs that promote community press and that encourage kaifong to concern themselves with local issues. Through the Small-scale Publishing Funding Program, In-media supports small local organizations to publish local papers. Earlier examples included PHKD District Post and Tai Wai Pao. Local papers that the program supports now include naam4 tou4, Vision Sai Kung《貢想》, Tun Mun Zine and Hung To Alliance, TSW New Force, as well as a local paper that Kwai Chung Estate residents and Community March initiated. Apart from this, In-media also dispatches intern reporters to report on local news mainly in districts where they live and roam. We believe that In-media has the capacity and experience to implement this scheme.
The scheme will be implemented in two stages. In the first stage, kaifong who are enthusiastic about community affairs (including organizers of local papers that In-media is currently supporting) will be invited to take part in community reporters’ training. News professionals and community researchers will be invited to teach on interview and reporting skills, research and different forms of writing, such as investigative reporting, feature writing, and analyzing current affairs and community issues. Participants will also learn editing skills and layout. During this stage, participants will learn through practice by publishing experimental papers for their respective districts.
The second stage will focus on publishing model projects. It will start half a year after the scheme commences. We will select one to two model projects from the experimental papers produced by the participants. Funds will be set aside to support the regular publication and wide distribution of the model project(s). The plan is to support a monthly paper with a print volume of not less than 10,000 for a community with a population of about 300,000. The wide distribution of the community paper will serve to build its impact. Six months of this stage of the scheme will be dedicated to building the sustainability of the model project(s), including developing distribution networks and attaining the goal of self-financing by building an advertising program and monthly donation system.
In terms of editorial policy, the experimental papers and model projects are expected to be professional, objective and providing in-depth analysis. They should uphold professional ethics of the press with the goal of promoting democratic participation at the community level. In terms of contents, news stories of public interest should be prioritized, and the publications should not be used as tools of publicity for individuals. In-media and community reporters will be responsible for the daily operation of the publications and there should not be any external intervention.
Project management, schedule and funding
In-media will be responsible for the planning, implementation and monitoring of the scheme. The initiators will act as consultants to support the implementation of the scheme.
- 2018年1月 開始眾籌
- 2018年3月 眾籌結束
- 2018年2月 開始招募社區記者
- 2018年3月 開始社區記者培育活動
- 2018年5-8月 舉辦針對在學同學的暑期社區實習記者計劃
- 2018年8月 社區記者及實驗刊物中期檢討
- 2018年9月 開始出版示範項目
- 2018年10月 為示範項目建立廣告和月捐系統
- 2019年2月 項目結束
The schedule for the implementation of the scheme is as follows:
- January 2017 Crowdfunding begins.
- March 2018 Crowdfunding closes.
- February 2018 Starts recruiting community reporters.
- March 2018 Community reporters’ training begins.
- May-August 2018 Holding Intern Community Reporters Program targeting current students.
- August 2018 Mid-term evaluation of community reporters training and experimental publications.
- September 2018 Publication of model project(s) begins.
- October 2018 Developing advertisement program and monthly donation system for model project (s).
- February 2019 Community Press Scheme closes
We hope that by the time District Council election takes place in Fall 2019, there would already be community papers nurtured by this scheme that have made an impact in terms of helping kaifong to gain adequate knowledge about district councils and to take part in building democracy in the community level through the election.
To implement the activities mentioned, $350,000 is needed to support the following expenses:
- Community reporters’ training, including tutors’ honoraria and other expenses for the training.
- Publication and distribution of a few experimental publications.
- Publication and distribution of one to two pilot projects
- One year’s salary and fringe benefits of one program coordinator.
Hong Kong In-media will inject funds and provide human power to support this scheme, including an inception fund of $50,000, shouldering administrative and office expenses, insurance and miscellaneous expenses. After deducting the amount of $50,000 from In-media, a sum of $300,000 is to be raised by crowdfunding to support this scheme.
Whether it is park management or public transportation, there are things small and big in a community that can be achieved only when people join force. If we do not speak out for our neighbors or speak out on things that happen around us, we cannot expect others to help us with our own problems. We hope that the Community Press Crowdfunding Scheme would be a starting point from which we can rebuild Hong Kong’s democracy by beginning at the community level. We look forward to your support and let us go further together.
- 社區記者培育活動：10次活動，每次導師費 $2,000 = $20,000
- 實驗刊物：5份各3期，每期$5,000 = $75,000
- 示範項目：1份共6期，每期預留$10,000 = $60,000
- 項目統籌員（連強積金）：$12,000 x 14 x 1.05 = $176,400
- Community reporters’ training: 10 times x tutor’s honorarium $2,000/time = $20,000
- Experimental publications: 5 publications x 3 issues x $5,000/issue=$75,000
- Model project: 1 project x 6 issues x $10,000=$60,000
- Program Coordinator (MPF included): $12,000 x 14 x 1.05 = $176,400
- Contingencies: $18,600
- Total: $350,000*
*$50,000 will be provided byHong Kong In-media