The Independent plans news ramp up and fundraising drive

The IndependentSingapore’s newest online news source, The Independent, is to go on a roadshow to drum up financial backing.

The news and current affairs website, which positions itself in the middle ground between the mainstream press and the blogging community, also plans to ramp up its news operation.

“We’re going on a roadshow in a few months to seek support from local investors. We want people to come with financial backing to give us more traction,” PN Balji, The Independent’s consulting editor and director, told Mumbrella.Next month, The Independent is moving into a new office space, and is looking to bring in news reporters.

“We want to become a news operation. We want to provide more than analysis and commentary,” Balji said.

Before its launch, The Independent was leant on by Singapore’s media regulator with an order to get a license that would prevent foreign backing.

The Independent published an article on its site to make clear that it is a 100 per cent locally owned company, and had never had any intention to seek foreign financial support.

“It was a pre-emptive strike. But the MDA has now gone completely silent,” Balji said.

“I can only assume that they have looked at our website and concluded that we’re not what they thought we would be,” he said.

The Independent has passed 500,000 monthly page views since launching, and is now featured in Google’s news feed.

The site is planning to put up a paywall after one year in operation.

“It depends on how well our readers accept us, if it becomes second nature for them to visit our site,” he said.

The site is also considering its options with advertisers.

“We haven’t actively gone out to look for advertisers. But when have a big reader base, we will. Advertising revenue has left SPH, so there is money to be had in the market.”

Balji said The Independent was sticking by its mantra of  ‘responsible, intelligent, robust’ reporting, and would not hold back in its criticism of the government, when necessary.

“Everyday, we’re posting and commissioning stories conscious that our stories have to fit with our philosophy,” he said.

Balji said he was confident the site would succeed.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint. If we run like it’s a 100m race, we’ll collapse. We’re taking our time, building a following reader by reader,” he said.


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